Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation

National Independence Day Salutes Mother Sri Lanka, Now on the Path of Speedy Development

The 64th National Independence Day ceremony that re-affirmed the commitment for strengthening of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, development and peaceful co-existence, took place Friday (4th February) morning at Anuradhapura with pomp and pageantry.  

The annual national spectacle, held for the second time in the sacred ancient capital of Anuradhapura was dignified by the presence of His Excellency, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the First Lady Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa, accompanied by Chief Justice, Speaker, Governor for North Central Province, Chief Minister for North Central Province, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs,   Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Secretaries of Ministries, Chief of Defence Staff, Army, Navy and Air Force Commanders, Inspector General of the Police, Director General, Civil Defence Force, Diplomats and a host of other distinguished invitees including members of clergy of all major denominations.

This year’s anniversary celebration theme, ‘Let us build up a miraculous motherland’,  leaves a landmark in the country’s post-war phase of development, reconstruction and reconciliation as the country is on the path of speedy development to make the country miracle of Asia after bitter experiences before May 2009.

Today’s ceremony commenced with the arrival of HE, the President, along with the First Lady Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa. They were warmly received by Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs. His arrival at the venue, accompanied by mounted Policemen and Tri-service Military Police outriders in a colourful pageant, was heralded by blowing of trumpets.

Seconds after that, the Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army, Commander of the Navy and the Inspector General of Police conducted 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 100 school girls from nine girls’ schools in the province, sang the national anthem, filling all patriotic hearts with pride of being an independent nation, rich with age old unmatched cultural ethos.

Afterwards, HE the President from the special dais received the blessings of the recital of Jayamangala Gatha and Devo Vassatu Kalena stanzas, presented by a bevy of 100 girls, belonging to nine girls’ schools in the province. It was followed by observance of a two-minute silence in memory of all the patriots and War Heroes who laid their lives for the noble cause of defending 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.

It was time for the much-awaited President’s address to the nation, in which he called upon all Sri Lankans, irrespective of petty differences, to rise to the occasion and jointly help overcome all the challenges on our road to recovery. His Excellency also expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards everyone who sacrificed in achieving the freedom we enjoy today.    

President Rajapaksa in his address to the Nation reminded that Parliament is the most suitable institution to find solution to the national issue and all parties should unite to do so irrespective of differences. Executive powers will not be used to go against the wishes of the people and are committed towards good governance and independence of judiciary. "No specific areas can be reserved for a group of people but all are free to live in the country wherever he wished to be since the country belongs to all," President said.

Soon after his address, the smart parade comprised of tri-service Officers and Other ranks, Police and the Civil Defence Service personnel in their respective ceremonials was reported by the Parade Commander, to the Chief Guest who took the Salute in accordance with military traditions.

Thousands of troops, attired in their ceremonial dresses afterwards began their march-past, according their salute to His Excellency, the President, the Chief Guest on the occasion.

Rhythmic cultural troupes, made up of well-known artistes, school students and others from the region added special colourfulness to the parade as the day’s programme drew to a close. These cultural dances were from different areas in the North Central Province.

Religious dignitaries of all denominations and a massive crowd of spectators witnessed the National Independence Day proceedings at Anuradhapura.

The last time the Independence Day was commemorated in Anuradhapura was in 1980 and the government took this decision to enable the rural population to witness events of national importance in their respective districts.

More than 2552 artists representing North Central Province and all other districts in the country, in addition to some 2600 tri-service, Police and Civil Defence Force personnel took part in the parade this morning (4).

Sharp at 12 noon today (4), the Navy was to honour the Nation with another round of 25-Gun Salute at Light House, Chaithya Road, Colombo.