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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

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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 Police.

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 spectacle.

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 Narthanaya etc.

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.

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