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Nation Salutes Fallen War Heroes at Battaramulla 'Ranaviru' Monument

Invaluable dedication and gallantry of War Heroes of the Tri-services and the Police received a deep reverence at the cenotaph (Ranaviru Monument) at Battaramulla Parliament ground on Friday (27) evening during the second leg of the National Victory Day anniversary ceremonies, held for the second successive year.

Just a few hours after the day’s main spectacle at Galle Face Green was over, the solemn and dignified saluting ceremony with the participation of hundreds of spouses, children, parents and next of kin of fallen War Heroes whose supreme sacrifices, enabled all Sri Lankans to enjoy today’s fruits of elusive peace, got underway seconds after the arrival of the day’s Chief Guest, HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The event, organized by Rana Viru Seva Authority (RVSA) under the auspices of Ministry of Defence included religious observances, floral wreath-laying, lamp lighting, offerings and military honours. Mrs Padma Wettewa, Chairperson, Ranaviru Seva Authority and Secretary Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa received the Chief Guest, HE the President who was conducted to the venue in a procession. 

Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne, Speaker, Secretary to the President, Secretary Defence, Rana Viru Seva Authority Chairperson, Chief of Defence Staff, Army Commander, Navy Commander, Air Force Commander and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) afterwards greeted HE, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa as he entered the special dais. Recital of the National Anthem joined by all attendees as the first item on the agenda honoured the motherland.

Mrs Padma Wettewa, inaugurating the formal commemorative meeting as Chairperson, RVSA welcomed the Chief Guest and all the invitees. She in her welcome speech hailed heroism and bravery of the War Heroes and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision that brought peace to the country. Making a special reference to the role of the Secretary Defence, Mrs Wettewa told the gathering that Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, using his military experience, played a vital role in the making of peace in our motherland. All families of War Heroes, present here, she added, will not at all allow any local or foreign conspiracies to belittle their sons’ sacrifices.

A two-minute silence in memory of all War Heroes who made the supreme sacrifice defending the motherland was then observed before religious observances of major denominations got underway. Brief orations of Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian denominations afterwards invoked blessings and merits on fallen War Heroes and all defenders of the nation.

As rhythmic beats of traditional Rana Bera, including Hevisi, Purappattu, Magul Bera, Geta Bera, etc, presented by Tri-service and Police bands as a fantastic fusion of  patriotism reverberated, recalling gestures of past heroic deeds and symbolizing the bravery and courage of departed War Heroes, the ceremony turned to be a colourful spectacle. It also in a way symbolized to be a form of tribute paid in ancient times during reigns of our kings.

Seconds after that, President Rajapaksa, in the company of Mrs Wettewa placed the first floral wreath at the Ranaviru memorial and paid his respect while bagpipe music rent the air. Prime Minister, Speaker, Secretary to President, Secretary Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Army, Navy, Air Force Commanders, the IGP and Mrs Padma Wettewa proceeded to the War Hero cenotaph in succession and laid floral wreaths, in remembrance of fallen War Heroes of our times. It was a moment filled with grief, pain and loss, but the magnificent towering cenotaph appeared to have immortalized their memory for the living to see. Mrs Lali Kobbekaduwa, widow of Lieutenant General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, widows of several slain ground commanders and service chiefs and beloved next of kin of fallen War Heroes followed suit.

Many of them were seen carrying bouquets of flowers. They knelt down at the foot of the monument and went on shedding tears while laying bouquets of fragrant flowers, reminiscent of memories, associated with their beloved ones. It was a solemn moment with moving scenes that touched everybody present on the occasion. The rare spectacle with Ranaviru children carrying replicas of lotus flowers with lighted candles inside to pay reverence to their departed fathers and mothers robbed the day’s chain of events bringing tears. 

Then, followed military traditions, as the Last Post honouring their memory was sounded by trumpeters of the Tri-services and the Police. Towards the final leg of the programme, The Reveille beamed marking the culmination of the formal ceremony. President Rajapaksa joined other distinguished invitees afterwards and lit commemorative flames in front of the monument as a mark of respect to the War Heroes.

The Aloka Pooja illuminated the entire memorial complex, giving eternity to the heroism, displayed by members of the Armed Forces and the Police who laid their valuable lives for the sake of the motherland during the 30-year long terrorism.