Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation

Nation Salutes Mother Lanka in Her 62nd Independence Day

AS TEMPLE BELLS in the hill capital, Kandy struck the dawn of a new era of liberation, prosperity and development Thursday (February 4th) early morning, the stage was set in the royal kingdom of the yesteryear to herald the blue-print of development for the future of mother, Sri Lanka.   

The 62nd National Day celebrations at Kandy amidst gentle breeze and cooler climes added new grandeur and solemnity as ceremonially dressed tri-service and Police personnel in their thousands lined up in the company of school students and other cultural troupes, drawn from all four corners of the island representing all ethnicities.    

The sacred Mahamaluwa area of the Sri Dalada Maligawa offered the central venue for the occasion as the serene Kandy lake surroundings garbed festive decorations with National Flags flying high all around. 

Prior to commencement of the main proceedings of the day, Buddhist religious observances were conducted at the most venerated Temple of Tooth.

Hindu, Islam, Roman Catholic and Christian observances followed respectively in four major places of worship earlier in the day.

The main ceremony at the premises of Sri Dalada Maligawa was dignified by the presence of His Excellency, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka and Mrs. Wickramanayaka, Speaker, Governor for Central Province, Ministers, Chief Justice, Tri-service Commanders, Inspector General of Police, State Secretaries, Diplomats and a host of distinguished dignitaries. 

This year’s celebration leaves a landmark in the country’s contemporary history since it is held at a time when the whole country was brought under one flag after defeating the LTTE, the main terrorist threat to her sovereignty under the aegis of HE the President Rajapaksa as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. 

The 62nd National Day celebration saw His Excellency, the President arriving at the venue, accompanied by mounted Policemen and Military Police outriders in a colorful pageant.   

The ceremony commenced with the arrival of HE the President, along with the First Lady Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa. They were warmly received by Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake, Minister of Public Administration Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Minster of Home Affairs.

Amidst beating of Magul Bera (auspicious drums) and blowing of conch shells as all those present rose to their feet in honour, Chief of Defence Staff, Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force and Inspector General of Police conducted His Excellency, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the main flag post where the President hoisted the National Flag and marked the official inauguration.

Recital of the National Anthem by one hundred school girls from Kandy, clad in white Lama Saris, while the National Flag flies high in the sky, filled all patriotic hearts with pride of being an independent nation with age-old and unmatched cultural traditions.

Later, three service Commanders and the Inspector General of Police conducted the President to the special dais opposite which twenty-five school girls recited Jayamangala Gatha to invoke blessings of the noble Triple Gem on the Nation and also the “Devo Vassatu Kalena” stanza to bless the Nation.

It was followed by observance of a two-minute silence in honour of all War Heroes who laid their lives during the noble mission of defending the freedom, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland. 
The next phase of the proceedings was the colorful tri-service Guard of Honour, accorded to the President, Commander-in-Chief, followed by the 21 Gun Salute to the Nation in her honour. 

Then the smart parade comprising tri-service Officers and Other ranks, Police and the Civil Defence Service in their respective ceremonials was reported by Brigadier U.A.B Medawela, Parade Commander, to the Chief Guest who took the Salute. Thousands of troops attired in their ceremonial dresses afterwards began their march-past, giving their salute to His Excellency, the President.

Rhythmic cultural troupes, made up of well-known artistes, school students and others   culminated the day’s parade.

Religious dignitaries, ambassadors and a massive crowd of spectators witnessed the National Day proceedings at Kandy.