A ceremony flush with patriotic fervour
Sri Lanka’s 65th independence anniversary was celebrated yesterday on
a grand scale with the attendant pomp and pageantry under the patronage
of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the scenic port city of Trincomalee
with attributes of bravery, gallantry and patriotism to national unity
underlying the occasion.
This year’s Independence Day celebration was held under the theme ‘A
Glorious Motherland - A Flourishing Tomorrow’ (Asirimath Mawubimak -
Isurumath Heta Dinak).
The event not only symbolised the freedom gained from the
administrative, economic and social bondage under the former British
colonisers, but also mirrored the hopes and aspirations of a nation that
enjoys peace and prosperity in full measure after an end to a three
decade terrorist war.
The Independence Day ceremony commenced with the arrival of President
Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at 8.45 am.
They were received by Prime Minister D M Jayaratne, Public
Administration and Home Affairs Minister W D J Senaviratne and Deputy
Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Wijaya Dahanayake.
This was followed by the blowing of trumpets heralding the arrival of
the President by the Sri Lanka Army.
President Rajapaksa was later accompanied to the main flag post by
the Chief of Defence Staff Service Commanders and the Inspector General
of Police. The President hoisted the National Flag amidst the beating of
magul bera and the blowing of conch shells.
The National Anthem was sung by 100 schoolchildren from eight schools
in the Trincomalee district. Invitees and the thousands present joined
in singing the National Anthem evoking patriotic feelings.
The President was then escorted to the special dais by the Chief of
Defence Staff, Three Service Commanders and the Inspector General of
Thereafter President Rajapaksa listened to Jaya Mangala Gatha and
Devo Vassathu Kalena, sung by 25 schoolgirls representing four schools
in the Trincomalee district.
Two minutes silence was observed in honour of all those who laid down
their lives to preserve and protect the freedom, unity, sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the motherland.
President Rajapaksa also paid tribute to the patriots and national
heroes of Sri Lanka, and observed two minutes’ silence in their memory.
Thereafter, the Three Forces accorded a guard of honour to the
President. This was followed by a 21 ceremonial Gun Salute. After the
gun salute, the President addressed the nation.
A military parade by 1,400 Army, 250 Air Force, 250 Navy, 250 Police
and 250 Civil Security Force personnel was another big draw.
Besides, 300 youths of the Youth Brigade, 325 School Cadets
representing the Three Forces and the Police took part in the parade.
The march past showcased the might of the Army, Navy, Air force, Police
and the Civil Security Force. The gallant march of Army Commandos and
Special Forces Personnel, STF and the Navy SBS was another eye-catching
There were also dances, singing and performances that showcased
national unity and culture. Around 1,400 dancers representing many
cultural centres participated in various dancing items including 18
Wannama, Devol Narthanaya, Kalagedi Narthanaya, Kulu Narthanaya, Ves
Over 2,500 invitees including members of the diplomatic corps and
foreign embassies attended the event.
A large number of clergy representing all religions took part in the
65th Independence Day celebrations.