25th September 2017 17:54:03 Hours
Sri Lanka Army, an army that has stunned the world by vanquishing one of the most ruthless terrorist outfits that plagued this country for more than three decades, turns 68 years on October 10, 2017.
This year’s commemoration of the 68th anniversary and the Army Day (Oct 10) as has been the practice begins with flag blessing ceremonies during a series of Buddhist, Catholic, Islamic and Hindu religious observances.
The precursor to the event commences on 28 September in Kandy where an offer of Buddha Pooja to the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth), alms to members of the Maha Sangha and invocation of blessings symbolically on all Army flags would take place with the participation of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake as the Chief Guest for the occasion.
The traditional flag blessing ceremony on October 2 at Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi precincts, considered as one of the most colourful spectacles in the calendar of anniversary events, is scheduled to be attended by representative Officers and Other Rankers in the Army after the Commander of the Army pays obeisance to the Chief Incumbent at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.
On October 3, members of the Christian faith in the Army will gather at the All Saints’ Church in Borella for a special Mass, organized by the Army Christian Fellowship to bless the Army.
Islamic prayers to bless the Army meanwhile are scheduled to take place on October 4 morning at Jumma Mosque in Colombo 03, following arrangements made by the Army Muslim Association.
On Wednesday (October 4) evening, the Hindu religious observances, organized by the Army Hindu Association would get underway at Sri Ponnambalam Vaneshwar Kovil at Colombo 13 where once again all Army flags would be blessed as in other instances.
The Kataragama Kiri Vehera premises and the nearby Devala precincts will remain adorned with Army flags and multi-coloured illuminations on October 6 for conduct of religious ceremonies on account of the same purpose. Gilanpasa and Muruthen Poojas (offerings) are also to be made during ceremonies at both places before 1500 coconut lamps light up surroundings around the Kirivehera Dagoba premises. A special Perahera with Kavadi dancers will adorn the sequence of religious programmes at Kataragama. Offer of Pooja to the deities and invocation of blessings on Army flags takes place, the same evening at the Devala premises.
The special overnight Pirith chanting ceremony on October 8, attended by 1000 All Ranks, representing all island-wide formations will take place at Sri Bodhirajaramaya (Army temple) in Panagoda where the Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest is expected to carry the sacred relic casket and invite the monks for chanting. Offer of Heel Daana (breakfast) to 20 monks and alms (Sangika Daana) to 68 monks the same noon at Panagoda temple venue, the following day (9), will bring the religious ceremonies of the 68th anniversary to an end.
The climax of the commemorative ceremonies to coincide with the Army’s 68th anniversary reaches on October 10 (Army Day), in which the incumbent Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake is accorded military salutes in a Guard Turnout plus a Guard of Honour at Panagoda Army Cantonment in conformity with military formalities.
Commander of the Army on the same day, will show his gratitude to the inmates at Ragama Ranaviru Sevana by visiting them with gifts, a feature symbolic of the Army’s concern and goodwill towards all those War Heroes under recuperation and rehabilitation. An All Rank dinner, the following day (11) will culminate the anniversary ceremonies.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest is expected to attend all these ceremonies with a representative gathering of Senior Officers, Officers and Other Rankers.
Army Buddhist Association, Army Christian Fellowship, Army Muslim Association, Army Hindu Association, Security Force Headquarters in Central, Wanni, West, Directorate of Personnel Administration, Directorate of Rehabilitation, Office of the Director General of Army Health Services and the Army Headquarters Battalion are jointly organizing all arrangements in regard to the 68th anniversary and the Army Day ceremonies.
In parallel with the main ceremonies, island-wide Security Force Headquarters have also organized their own arrangements to mark the event.