Army marks 71st anniversary on October 10 | Daily News


Army marks 71st anniversary on October 10

The ‘Army Day’ will be celebrated on October 10 with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest at Galle Face Green with the attendance of other distinguished guests.

The President will be accorded a Guard of Honour and the event will also see a dignified parade with the participation of more than 2,000 troops after flag-raising and other formalities.

A release by the Army Media Division said “Colour squads, Presidential Truncheons, President’s ‘Rana Parashuwa’ (Hatchet), Presidential Colours, and Mascot of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry” will take part in the parade.

“On the eve of the event, memories of valiant War Heroes in contemporary times will be refreshed and commemorated with flowers on October 7 at Battaramulla War Heroes’ Monument by hundreds of Army soldiers, headed by Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, amidst rhythmic beats of traditional ‘Rana Bera’,‘Hewisi’, ‘Purappattu’, ‘Magul Bera’, ‘Geta Bera’,” the release said.

Founded on 10 October 1949 as the Ceylon Army forming its first regular force under the command of Brigadier Roderick Sinclair, the Earl of Caithness through the Army Act No. 17 of 1949, it established its own Military Academy in Diyatalawa afterwards, and Brigadier Anton Muthukumaru assumed the mantle of office as the first Sri Lankan Commander of the then Ceylon Army.

“Blossomed into a full-fledged Army during its life-span of past 71 years, the Sri Lanka Army to-date had been effectively commanded by 22 Commanders, elevating the organization to impressive heights. Its expansion with 24 Regiments with combat arms, support arms and support service arms has won the hearts and minds of all ethnicities across the country as the most people-friendly security provider to all at the expense of their own lives,” the release added.

“One of the most admired War Heroes, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva of Gajaba Regiment has been serving as the 23rd Commander of the Army since 18 August 2019 to-date, in addition to his office of the Chief of Defence Staff.

“The Sri Lanka Army as the country’s most-sought service provider and the defender of the nation, in addition to its prioritized and rejuvenated security roles for defence of the motherland, is currently engaged in a multitude of nation-building tasks, community-oriented welfare projects, search and rescue efforts during natural disasters and catastrophes, national emergencies, infrastructure development assignments, construction of roads, playgrounds, schools, etc,” it stated.

The release said the chain of commemorative events and ceremonies to mark the 71st Anniversary would begin giving pride of place to veneration of ‘Saririka’, ‘Paribohgika’ and ‘Uddesika’ relics of the Buddha respectively at Kandy Sri Dalada Maligawa (September 28), Anuradhapura Jayasri Maha Bodhiya (September 30) and Kataragama Kiri Vehera (October 5) premises.

An offer of ‘Buddha Pooja’, alms and ‘Ata Pirikara’ to 71 members of the Maha Sangha will be held today in Kandy, and it will be followed by ‘Pirith’ chanting and invocation of blessings symbolically on all the Army flags.

“The routine and colourful flag blessing ceremony at Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi precincts has been fixed for Wednesday (30) with the participation of the Army Commander as the chief guest. On the same occasion, the Commander on behalf of the Sri Lanka Army will present a financial contribution to the development of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi complex to the Atamasthanadhipathi as a gesture of high regard of the Army.

“At Anuradhapura on the same day, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, together with several Senior Officers would symbolise the Army’s concern and goodwill towards injured War Heroes under recuperation at ‘Abhimansala-1’ wellness resort by awarding special gift parcels to each of those differently-abled War Heroes and joining inmates for an anniversary lunch treat.

“Organized by the Army Buddhist Association, the customary overnight ‘Pirith’ chanting ceremony, to be attended by 1000 Army personnel, representing all island-wide formations will take place on October 1 at Sri Jayawardhanapura Army Headquarters complex,” the media release said.

Hindu religious observances will be held on Saturday at Sri Ponnambalam Vaneshwar Kovil at Colombo and Islamic prayers will be held October 4 at Jumma Mosque in Colombo 3.

“The sacred Kataragama Kiri Vehera premises and the Devala precincts on Monday (October 5) will remain adorned with Army flags and illuminations for conduct of religious ceremonies. ‘Gilanpasa and Muruthen Poojas’ (offerings) are to be made during the ceremonies at both places before 1500 coconut lamps are lit surrounding the Kirivehera Dagoba premises.

“Army members of the Christian faith will gather at St Thomas’ Church at Kotte on October 6 for a special mass. A symbolic contribution to the church development is also to be presented.

“A formal dinner for All Ranks on the following day (11) at Panagoda brings anniversary commemorative events to culmination,” the release noted.