14th October 2019 15:35:30 Hours
One of the most prominent and leading Infantry wings in the Army, Gajaba Regiment (GR) whose troops with their avowed theme song, ‘Peramune Sita Helaya Rakina…..’ (Defending the Nation from the front line) marking an epoch in the country’s contemporary war history commemorated its 36th anniversary on a grand scale on Monday (14) morning at Saliyapura.
The anniversary segments, comprised of floral wreath-laying, ‘Pirith’ chanting and alms-giving at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Remembrance of founding fathers, Military formalities and Offer of alms to members of the ‘Maha Sangha’, at the Regimental Headquarters, etc, were meticulously kept in place under the close supervision of Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Colonel of the Regiment, GR and Commander of the Army.
Monday’s (14) Regimental Day ceremony at Saliyapura got to a start with the arrival of the day’s Chief Guest, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, who was greeted to a Guard Turnout salute at the entrance to the GR HQ. Afterwards, he paid his respect to the founder of the GR, late Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne in the exclusively constructed monument near the entrance.
After a while, a colourful and meticulously-organized Guard of Honour in the parade ground saluted the Colonel of the Regiment and paved the way for him to address the troops as a formality of the military segment of the Regimental Day arrangements.
"Our founder, late Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne not only founded this regiment, but also gave the leadership to all aspects of its improvement while turning it to be a full-pledged infantry wing that emerged victorious in the battlefield. You, as Keterians should always be a guiding light to all other fellow regiments to reach greater heights in future. By being in the front, as our theme song expresses, we all should dedicate ourselves for defence of the country as our GR fore-fathers did in the past," Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva underlined.
"We should remember all those 4,250 fallen GR War Heroes who laid their lives for our future and keep in mind of 4,639 injured War Heroes, many of who are still under recuperation or rehabilitation. I believe the GR should set a precedent for future as one of the dedicated fighting wings in the Army," he added.
After a few minutes, a colourful pageant with hundreds of troops holding Buddhist flags aloft conducted 60 Buddhist monks to the HQ premises, preceded by Army drummers where the Commander of the Army respectfully welcomed them.
At the alms-hall, Ven. Mankadawala Piyarathana Nayake Thero before conduct of religious observances delivered an oration (Anushasana) and spoke high of GR victories and sacrifices with special mention of the contribution, hitherto, being made by Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva as a battle-hardened soldier who had valiantly stood by the country in the hour of need. Similarly, Ven. Walahahengunawewe Dhammarathana Nayake Thero, Chief Incumbent at Mihintale delivered the ‘Gupthanumodena’, the concluding oration on behalf of the Maha Sangha and commended the services of the Regiment in the past 36 years.
The alms-giving came to end with offer of ‘Pirikara Pooja’ to all members of the Maha Sangha by the Commander of the Army and representative Senior Officers, spouses and children of fallen War Heroes, disabled War Heroes, Officers, Other Ranks and civil staff.
On Sunday (13) evening, a ‘Pirith’ chanting session, held in the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi precincts invoked blessings on the GR’s forward-march, its troops, recovering War Heroes and transferred merits to late War Heroes. The arrangements also wished prosperity and peace for the country and the Army at large during this meritorious project. The offer of ‘Heel Daana’ (breakfast) to those monks at the monastery in the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises culminated the programme.