10th October 2017 13:06:44 Hours
Sri Lanka Army, the saviour of the Nation, and now, the most-sought service provider at all levels, commemorated its 68th Anniversary and the Army Day Tuesday (10) morning during a fitting colourful parade at Panagoda Army Cantonment grounds.
Tuesday’s ceremony is the climax of a series of commemorative anniversary ceremonies that got underway beginning the final week of September. The day’s Chief Guest, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army commenced the day’s programme raising the Army flag.
A Guard Turnout in accordance with military formalities greeted the Chief Guest at the entrance to the parade ground before he was received by Major General Amal Karunasekara, Chief of Staff of the Army.
The Commander was then invited to take the salute by the Parade Commander, Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Master General Ordnance (MGO) of the Army in conformity with military traditions.
At the commencement of the ceremony, the Army Song ‘Sagarayen Wata - Me Mage Mavu Rata ….. Rakimu Sadaa’ rent the air, adding grandeur and patriotic sentiments to the occasion. The next moment on the itinerary was solemn and dignified since memories would never fade, as they say. All gathered at the occasion rose to their feet and revered the memory of fallen War Heroes in a two-minute silence before the Commander reviewed the parade.
After military honours, the Commander, accompanied by the Parade Commander, Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Master General Ordnance in the company of Major General Shavendra Silva, Adjutant General, reviewed the parade, presented by representative troops of all 24 regiments of the organization.
The ceremonial parade with Regimental Colours, presented to the Commander with fluttering Regimental flags, holding aloft in the background and melodic rhythms of patriotic songs reverberating behind, no doubt drew the attention of everyone present at the occasion.
Another significant addition to the day’s event was the presentation of trophies, medals and certificates to the Best teams, Best platoon leaders, both men and women in respective drill platoons and leaders in the Best Band display teams in the Inter Regiment Drill and Band competition - 2017.
In the Inter Regiment Drill and Band competition - 2017, the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR) was adjudged the 1st and the Best. 2nd and 3rd places were won by Sri Lanka National Guards (SLNG) and Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) teams respectively.
The 1st place in the Band competition was won by Sri Lanka Army Service Corps (SLASC) while the 2nd and 3rd places were respectively secured by Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR) and Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) players.
Warrant Officer-I K.P Waidyatilake of Sri Lanka Army Service Corps clinched the first place in the Best Band Player while Captain A.K.K Perera of Sri Lanka Army Women’s Corps was selected as the Best Platoon Commander (women's). Captain K.H.L.P Karunarathne of Sri Lanka Engineers, became the Best Platoon Commander (men's) while Staff Sergeant D.M.S Dissanayake of the Sri Lanka National Guard (SLNG) clinched the title for the Best drill instructor.
The much-awaited moment of significance on the day’s itinerary followed, next as the Commander rose to his feet with his customary speech, in which he paid a glowing tribute to the troops for their dedicated work. (See separate full speech in Highlights)
“We as the Army have the responsibility of protecting the country while preserving the Army image, high standards of discipline with a view to aiming at a specific goal as a collective group. Equally important is our dedication and commitment to promote bonds of reconciliation and durable peace in the country”, the Commander said. He also spelt out his intention of further elevating the qualitative standards of training institutes to match with international standards. "Likewise, I expect to bring more and more welfare measures closer to the hearts of all. To perform our duties better, it is important for us to be more active in our services with reinvigorated mental disposition", the Commander of the Army underlined.
Afterwards, the Commander did not forget to share a couple of thoughts with retired senior Army officers and other invitees who were attending the occasion during refreshments after the day’s main ceremony formally came to end.
A representative gathering of past Commanders, retired Senior Officers and their spouses, Principal Staff Officers, Senior Officers, spouses and Other Ranks also took part in the ceremony.
A series of anniversary ceremonies that began in the final week of September, giving pride of place to religious observances at Sri Dalada Maligawa, Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, All Saints Church, Kollupitiya Jummah Mosque, Sri Ponnanmbalam Vaneshwarar Kovil, Kotehena, Kirivehera, Kataragma Devalaya, and Panagoda Bodhirajaramaya culminate with a remembrance ceremony at Battaramulla War Memorial this evening (10). An All Rank dinner on Wednesday (11) brings the anniversary arrangements and ceremonies to end.