Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation

04th February 2024 22:16:37 Hours

Sri Lanka Celebrates 76th Independence Day with Pride at Galle Face Green

The 76th National Independence Day of Sri Lanka was celebrated on 04 February 2024, at Galle Face Green in Colombo under the theme 'Hadamu Aluth Ratak' (Let's Build a New Country). The ceremony was presided over by His Excellency the President Ranil Wickremesinghe, accompanied by the Honourable Prime Minister and a distinguished gathering of multi-religious leaders, diplomats, ministers, military officers, civil dignitaries, and invitees.

On Sunday morning, an elegant and simple spectacle unfolded with the arrival of His Excellency the President, signaling the commencement of the day's programme. The Prime Minister, Speaker of the Parliament, Chief Justice, Admiral of the Fleet, Marshal of the Air Force, Ministers, State Ministers, Secretaries to the President and Prime Minister, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army, Commander of the Navy, Commander of the Air Force, Acting Inspector General of the Police, Diplomats, and a host of other distinguished invitees graced the venue before the chief guest arrived at the location. In a special gesture, at the invitation of His Excellency the President, Honourable Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister of Thailand, attended the 76th National Independence Day ceremony as a special guest.

The President was warmly received by the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Chief of Defence Staff, and Tri-Services Commanders upon his arrival at the venue. He was accompanied by Military Police outriders and mounted Policemen in a colourful pageant.

Seconds after that, the Chief of Defence Staff, together with the Commanders of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, along with the Acting Inspector General of Police, ushered the day's Chief Guest, His Excellency the President to the main flag post. There, he hoisted the National Flag amidst the rhythmic beating of 'Magul Bera' (auspicious drums) and blowing of conch shells. A bevy of school girls and boys sang the national anthem, filling all patriotic hearts with pride in being an independent nation, rich with age-old, unmatched, and diverse cultural ethos.

Afterwards, the President, from the special dais, received the blessings of the recital of ‘Jayamangala Gatha’ and ‘Devo Vassatu Kalena’ stanzas presented by a group of school girls. This was followed by the observance of a two-minute silence in memory of all the patriots and War Heroes who had laid down their lives for the noble cause of defending the territorial integrity of the Nation.

The next phase of the day’s agenda was the colourful Tri-Services Guard of Honour, accorded to His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, followed by the customary 21-gun salute presented in His Excellency’s honour by the Sri Lanka Artillery.

After a while, the parade, comprised of Tri-Services Officers and Other Ranks, Police, STF, and Civil Security Department personnel, National Cadet Corps members, and both retired and still serving physically-disabled War Heroes, commanded by Major General S.R.B Aluvihare RWP RSP ndu psc, saluted the Chief Guest in accordance with military traditions.

The military section of the day's parade featured columns of Army, Navy, and Air Force vehicles, some of which are renowned for their amphibious operations. These vehicles proceeded along the Galle Face Greens boulevard.

Following that, a display of Tri-Service parachutists took place, including the most elite Army Commando and Special Forces units. They were supported by airmen from the Air Force, and the air show added to the significance of the day towards the end of the day’s proceedings.

A total of 6,863 Tri-Service troops, including Police, STF, and Civil Security Department personnel, attired in their ceremonial dresses, afterwards began the march-past, presenting their salute to the President. In addition, members of the National Cadet Corps also coloured the main segment of the parade. The singing of the National Anthem in Tamil by children of all ethnicities brought the day's spectacle to an end.

Afterwards, the Sri Lanka Navy sailors saluted the nation with a 25-round gun salute on the Sri Lanka Naval Ship 'Sayura' (SLNS Sayura).