Published on - 1/2/2006
Heralding the New Year-2006, as a breakthrough to new peace prospects in the country, the Commander of the Army Lt General Sarath Fonseka during a simple ceremony at Army Headquarters this morning (02) called upon all his officers and soldiers to further dedicate and work determinedly for the betterment of the countrymen and the Army.
During a customary ceremony at his office complex premises to herald the onset of the New Year and the first day at work Lt General Fonseka raised the National Flag and the Army Flag at the commencement of the day's proceedings, to be followed by singing of the national anthem and the Army song.
The occasion afterwards gathered momentum as the Commander, Lt General Fonseka rose to his feet to deliver his New Year message to the troops, adding a special significance and much weight to the proceedings of the day. A pledge of commitment to service was also read out on the occasion.
â€œ We have to be well aware of the arduous responsibilities thrust upon us, as a disciplined, courageous and a self-confident Army. What you have performed and achieved in the past is praiseworthy and remains a matter of pride to the Sri Lankan nation. Every step with maximum degree of restraint should be adopted by all of us in this year too, particularly to promote this aspect further without falling prey to provocative acts or any other incitements. You all are admired not only in Sri Lanka but also at foreign shores because of those virtues rich with discipline and commitment,â€ the Commander said.
â€œThe prime responsibility and concern, as an integral segment of our society, should be purely directed at meeting aspirations of our beloved motherland, now on her way to achieve peace with dignity. In this process, we will have to face lots of challenges, setbacks and bitter experiences, and our prime duty is to face such situations with maximum possible patience and restraint,â€ the Commander underlined.
As a responsible organization, all steps should be adopted to dispense with corrupt practices and wastages of any sort. Similarly, at this auspicious turn of the New Year, we all should further help bolster up the image of the Army to receive respect from the public without resorting to misuse of Army and the public property, Lt General Fonseka said.
Soldiers are not meant for the war alone. It is our bounden duty to salvage our citizens in times of natural catastrophes. Such commitments in time of disasters should display our efficiency and organizational capacity. That type of approach would bring credit to the Army as well as to the members of their families. â€œI firmly believe such collective work would lead us to success,â€ the Commander added.
â€œLet me take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for the troops now serving the UN assignments in Haiti. Their service has been highly commended by foreign leaders and other dignitaries, bringing glory and honour to both our motherland and the Army. I also recall the memories of all those who perished in the war or those who went missing in action. Their members of the family, all differently-able soldiers, all those soldiers in hospitals, as well as all other family members of the troops in hospitals are remembered with gratitude on this occasion for the excellent services and morale they have provided.â€
â€œThe Army Seva Vanitha Unit, dedicated for the welfare of War Heroes and their families, also deserves my commendation, and I strongly believe this service would be further expanded in the New Year too. In the past year all our sports teams brought fame to the Army through their talents and I am confident those sportsmen would do better this year after creating new records. In conclusion may I invoke blessings of the Triple Gem and all deities on all of you in the year 2006. Let those blessings bring us the necessary courage and strength to bring peace to the motherland and promote dignity and glory to the Sri Lanka Army,â€ the Commander concluded.
The day's proceedings came to an end after the Commander and a couple of Senior Officers including the Chief of Staff made their way to talk to the inmates at the military hospital at the Army Headquarters premises. Lt Gen Fonseka was joined by Mrs Anoma Fonseka, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit.
The Commander shared views with a cross section of the resident patients and gave away gift parcels, extending best wishes for the New Year. On Sunday (01) night, a special Pirith chanting ceremony, designed to invoke blessings was held at the Army Headquarters. Commander Lt Gen Fonseka and a large gathering of Senior Officers and their spouses graced the occasion.
Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Daya Sandagiri during a simple New Year ceremony at his Joint Operations Headquarters (JOH) raised the National Flag and sang the National Anthem along with the staff at JOH before the proceedings got under way. Admiral Sandagiri joined others to read out the duty pledge, symbolizing their commitment to the service.