22nd August 2020 20:40:37 Hours
The Army's one of the most battle-hardened regiments, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR) for the 28th consecutive year commemorated its 143 Officers and 3719 Other Rankers who made the supreme sacrifice while defending the country's territorial integrity before May 2009 in a fitting ceremony with hundreds of relatives of fallen War Heroeson in place on Saturday (22) at the SLSR Regimental HQ at Ambepussa.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak added significance to the commemoration by graceing the day's solemn occasion as the Chief Guest at the invitation of Major General Jayantha Senevirathna, Colonel of the Regiment, SLSR and Commander, Security Forces-West.
The day's Chief Guest after a warm welcome upon arrival was greeted to a Guard Turnout honour near the Truncheon House before he was saluted in a formal Guard of Honour in conformity with military formalities. Adding memories, the day's protagonist was then invited to plant a sapling in the RHQ premises before he was ushered to attend the day's climax, the mammoth floral wreath-laying and SLSR flag unfurling ceremony at the SLSR War Heroes' Monument.
The recital of the Army song and the Regimental song, vigil mounting, two-minute silence, reading of the honorary citation of War Heroes commenced afterwards at the venue while hundreds of sons and daughters and relatives of fallen War Heroes were in attention holding SLSR flags, floral wreaths and bouquets as transfer of merits was done. The simultaneous unfururling of SLSR flags occurred as the reading of the citation of their heroism was done culminating that phase.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva in his much-awaited address to the troops and hundreds of War Heroes' relatives made a few moving remarks commending valuable roles of the SLSR throughout its distinguished history. "When I was commanding the 58 Division in the Wanni during the most decisive phases of the humanitarian operations, I closely worked with SLSR battalions and those SLSR War Heroes exclusively exhibited their infantry skills in an impressive way and actively supported to bring peace to our country at the expense of their own precious lives, legs and limbs, a true brave act that should not be forgotten by any of us."
"You, as dedicated spouses, children, parents and kith and kin provided the moral impetus to those War Heroes while they were fighting in battle-fields for defence of the country. Therefore, you also deserve the nation's utmost respect and admiration as true sons and daughters of this country. For our part, we need to ensure that those affected families, including the ones who became disabled and still under rehabilitation and recuperation are provided with all welfare dividends and support for sustenance of life."
"I must very honestly tell you that HE the President and Hon Prime Minister who truly understand travails of life after such losses or injuries in the fight against terrorism, are throwing their full weight behind realization of such welfare requirements whenever the Army turned to them seeking assistance through the cooperation, extended by Ministry of Defence all the time. Hence, I am pretty sure all affected families as well as those injured War Heroes in future would reap more welfare benefits than ever before, thanks to the visionary leadership of the President."
Commenting on the control of COVID-19 epidemic, the Army Chief again extended a word of gratitude to the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for implementation of all necessary preventive and precautionary measures against the deadly transmission by taking right and solid decisions with the coordination of health authorities, armed forces and all other stakeholders. "Had that not been the case, we would be compelled to undergo different challenges, difficulties and hardships in a worst manner. Today, our control work is admired, well-accepted and exceptionally effective as evident through our statistics and absence of any community clusters any more."
"We must remember that over 7,000 Sri Lankan Expatriates stranded due to COVID-19 have already being repatriated to Sri Lanka and the process still continues fulfilling the aspiration of those overseas-based Sri Lankans. We are a small nation and we cannot accommodate all of them as a bulk bringing them here. It has to be done methodically depending on the number of available quarantine centres." the Commander of the Army highlighted.
"Time has come for us to think afresh and begin nation-building tasks as envisioned by HE the President. The Army has intensified supportive roles for construction of school infastructures such as buildings, grounds, sports complexes, facilities, roadways, etc. Our troops are a skilled force and they are capable of undertaking any challenge for the best interests of the nation. Then only we can give our fallen and injured War Heroes the biggest respect they deserve after invaluable sacrifices," Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva pointed out.
Major General Jayantha Senevirathna, Colonel of the Regiment, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment made the brief welcome note before the main proceedings got to a start. The visiting Commander of the Army added more dignity and importance to the occasion by talking and sharing a few thoughts with those bereaving next of kin present and sat for group photos.
In addition, religious observances representing Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Islamic faiths got underway at separate sacred places in Warakapola during the day with the participation of several Senior Officers. An overnight 'Pirith' chanting, followed by an alms-giving ceremony on Sunday (23) morning culminates those commemorative programmes.
Retired Senior SLSR Officers, Senior Serving Officers, SLSR Centre Commandant, Officers, Other Ranks and a huge gathering participated in those commemorative events at the SLSR RHQ and elsewhere.