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Ananda created patriotic leaders

Exceptional military leadership came in the form of old Anandians who were brought up with patriotism and inculcated with national minded core strengths and values.

"Ananda foremost and a few other Schools were established with the intention of creating the next generation of leaders based on our Sinhala Buddhist cultural values and traditions," says Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, a distinguished old Anandian who now heads the Civil Defence Force.

"That is why I think Ananda became the cradle of budding patriots."

In an interview with the Daily News, he noted that this patriotic culture prevailed at Ananda from the beginning and you could feel it even in the air within the premises. Thus it is no wonder today when Ananda is recognized as one of the foremost Schools which moulded men to supplement the national need when it was most wanted.

"Thus when faced with the colossal task of defeating LTTE terrorism, which bled the country for nearly three decades, exceptional military leadership came in the form of old Anandians who were brought up with patriotism and inculcated with national minded core strengths and values," he added.

"The culture which prevailed in the School played a major role in moulding our characters. Discipline was taught as sacred. Extra curricular activities\sports was encouraged to the hilt," he recalled. From the time we sang the school anthem in the early morning and the soothing chanting of the 'Karaniya Metta Sutta' before going to sleep at the hostel we were moulded in the unique Ananda way.

"I still can remember an incident which took place on the eve of a Football match between Ananda and Nalanda. During this time this was considered as our big match in Foot Ball.

Then I was Captain of the Ananda College team, and on the eve of the match the Education Ministry sent a circular mentioning the deadline of the age levels and asked all teams to heed by the guidelines.

Our top striker was a few days over-age according to set guidelines. So I approached the then Principal Colonel G.W.Rajapaksa and sought his permission to forego the guidelines and include him because I badly wanted to win the match at any cost.

The Principal on hearing my suggestion promptly reprimanded me and said "others might do it. But not Anandians, even for the sake of winning and bringing glory to the School. Anandians never cheat; they do everything in a very upright manner"

However without the said player, we won the match after a closely fought tussle. But even to date the words of Col.Rajapaksa linger in my mind. As a result I have never cheated in my life." Rear Admiral Weerasekera joined Ananda in 1961 and left School after completing advanced levels in 1971. He excelled in both studies and sports\extra curricular activities. He Captained the College Foot Ball team and the Athletic team.

He was the under 17 college athletic champion in the year 1968. He was also a prominent member of the School Cadeting team.

Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara joined the Sri Lanka Navy as an Officer Cadet. He has followed numerous courses including a Naval Staff course at the prestigious Naval War College in Rhode Island, New Port, USA and National Defence College, New Delhi, India.

He holds a MA in Buddhist Philosophy, M. Phil in Buddhist Philosophy and is a Member of the Royal Institute of Navigation in the UK.

He is an alumnus of the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii as well as Near East South Asia Centre for Strategic Studies at National Defence University in Washington DC, USA. He was awarded the Rana Wickrama gallantry award for volunteering and landing troops in enemy infested Pooneryn in 1993 and rescuing approximately 400 trapped army troops.

In 2000, Admiral Weerasekara was appointed the Commander Northern Naval Area.

He is the first Flotilla Commander of fast attack craft and Inshore Patrol Craft Division of the Sri Lanka Navy.

He held the posts of Chief of Staff, first Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy, Director General Operations, Commander Northern Naval Area, Commander Eastern Naval Area and Commander Southern Naval Area.

In recognition of his distinguished career in the Sri Lanka Navy, he has received the Rana Wickrama Medal, Vishishta Seva Vibushana Medal, Uttama Seva Medal, Republic of Sri Lanka Armed Services Medal, Sri Lanka Navy 50th Anniversary Medal, Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Services Medal, President's Inauguration Medal, 50th Independence Anniversary Commemoration Medal, North and East Operation Medal and Poorna Bhoomi Medal. He has also penned three books.


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