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Ananda's Victorious Hour

May 18, 2009 was a Red Letter Day for all Sri Lankans, regardless of where they live in the world. It was the day that Sri Lankans heard the news they had been waiting to hear for 30 long years. The valiant Security Forces had defeated the LTTE, the most ruthless terrorist group in the world and liberated thousands of civilians held hostage by brutal terrorists. Above all, they brought every inch of land in Sri Lanka under the National Flag. They protected the country's unitary status, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Anandians everywhere have every reason to be proud of this unprecedented achievement, because it was Anandians who were in the forefront of the campaign to defeat terrorism. Over the last 30 years, hundreds of Anandians had laid down their precious lives for securing freedom for the Motherland. Many others have been disabled. Their efforts have not been in vain.

Today, we honour these brave sons of Ananda College who made it all possible. This is a tribute to the heroic Anandians in the Security Forces, Police and the Civil Security Force who answered the call of the Nation to defeat terrorism from our soil.

It took 30 long years, but under the guidance of Commander-in-Chief President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, they achieved what many thought would be an almost impossible task.

It is not surprising that those who led the battle were mostly Anandians. Every Anandian inherits that sense of love for their Motherland from the very first moment he walks into the school as a new student, in the smart white uniform.

They know that Ananda was a cradle for all patriots who fought for freedom. It is a hallowed ground, trod by giants moulded by Buddhist ideals and patriotic feelings. It is almost as if these feelings still permeate the air at Ananda.

All students participate in the 'Mal Pooja' at the Viharaya. They sing the National and School anthems before heading towards the classrooms. At the school assembly, the Ven. Theras who teach at the school deliver anusasanas that further develop one's sense of loyalty to the Nation. 'Country before self' is an adage that rings true at Ananda.

Indeed, Ananda has produced many selfless patriots throughout its 123 years of existence. Many have held the top positions in their respective fields here and abroad. But for many years, Anandians were denied the right to enter the Armed Forces and the Police and serve their Motherland. How this glaring anomaly was rectified is detailed elsewhere in these pages.

Today, no other school can claim to have produced so many valiant sons who entered the Armed Forces and the Police. And Ananda will continue to produce brave sons whose loyalty to the Motherland will be beyond question.

As peace beckons in a country ravaged by conflict for over 30 years, there will be a bigger role for Anandians. But we should be forever grateful to the Anandians and all others who made peace possible. We shall always remember the immense sacrifices they have made on and off the battlefield to secure this freedom for all Sri Lankans.


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