04th February 2023 11:56:16 Hours
HE the President Ranil Wickremesinghe along with Hon Prime Minister and a host of distinguished multi religious, diplomatic, ministerial, defence, state and civil dignitaries and invitees at Galle Face esplanade this morning (4 Feb) saluted the motherland during the 75th National Independence Day celebration where the determined commitment of all Sri Lankans to march forward in Sri Lanka's quest for prosperity, peace, reconciliation and long-lasting stability was once again showcased.
Saturday morning's elegant and simple spectacle saw the arrival of HE the President signalling the onset of the day’s programme seconds after the Hon Prime Minister reached there. The Speaker, Chief Justice, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Governor for Western Province, Chief Minister for Western Province, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Secretaries of Ministries, Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander, Navy and Air Force Commanders, Inspector General of the Police, Diplomats and a host of other distinguished invitees arrived at the venue in succession as the clock struck 7.45 am.
This year’s commemorative celebration leaves a landmark in the country’s post-independence era as it had all the hallmarks of dignity with simplicity, brevity and colourfulness, irrespective of a string of challenges and setbacks, posed to the Nation's forward-march amidst economic constraints and varying multifaceted global constraints.
HE the President was warmly received by the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs upon his arrival at the venue, accompanied by Military Police outriders and mounted Policemen in a colourful pageant.
Seconds after that, the Chief of Defence Staff, together with the Commander of the Army, Commander of the Navy, Commander of the Air Force and the Inspector General of Police ushered the day's Chief Guest, HE the President to the main flag post where he hoisted the National Flag, amidst rhythmic beating of 'Magul Bera' (auspicious drums) and blowing of conch shells as a bevy of school girls and boys from schools in the province, sang the national anthem, filling all patriotic hearts with pride of being an independent nation, rich with age-old, unmatched and diverse cultural ethos.
Afterwards, the President from the special dais received the blessings of the recital of ‘Jayamangala Gatha’ and ‘Devo Vassatu Kalena’ stanzas, presented by a group of girls. It was followed by observance of a two-minute silence in memory of all the patriots and War Heroes who had laid their lives for the noble cause of defending the territorial integrity of the Nation.
The next phase of the day’s agenda was the colourful tri-service Guard of Honour, accorded to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, followed by the customary 21-Gun Salute presented in his honour by the Sri Lanka Artillery Regiment.
After a while, the smart parade, comprised of Tri-service Officers and Other Ranks, Police, STF and Civil Security Department personnel, National Cadet Corps members, physically-disabled War Heroes both retired and still serving in their respective ceremonials, commanded by Major General Deepal Pussella of the Sri Lanka Army, was reported by the Parade Commander to the Chief Guest who afterwards took the salute in accordance with military traditions.
The day's military section of the parade, including hardware columns of Army, Navy and Air Force vehicles, some of which are famed for amphibious operations, then rolled down the boulevard of iconic Galle Face greens. The Sri Lanka Army which has received plaudits for its tremendous and unique contribution demonstrated to the day's gathering that it continues to remain the most sought service-provider to the Nation and her progress.
Up next, a display of tri service parachutists including the most elite Army Commando and Special Forces ones supported by airmen of the Air Force and light aircraft added their contribution to the significance of the day towards the end of the day’s proceedings.
A total of 6877 tri service troops, including Police, STF and Civil Security Department personnel, attired in their ceremonial dresses afterwards began the march-past, presenting their salute to the President, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In addition, school students and members of the National Cadet Corps also coloured the main segment of the parade. Singing of the National Anthem in Tamil by children of all ethnicities brought the day's spectacle to an end.
At 12.00 noon Sri Lanka Navy sailors saluted the Nation with 25 rounds of gun salute near the Lighthouse at Chaitya road. On Independence Day (4) Buddhist religious observances, Hindu religious rituals, Islamic prayers, Catholic and Christian services took place at several sacred places in Colombo. At the Independence Square hall, a cultural spectacle on Friday (3) evening added colour and variety. HE the President addresses the Nation this afternoon at 6.45 pm.