A fitting tribute to the Nation on Independence Day | Daily News

A fitting tribute to the Nation on Independence Day

The 73rd Independence Day celebrations commenced at the Independence Square yesterday amidst the customary pomp and pageantry, but with limited public participation in keeping with Covid-19 health guidelines. The number of invitees was also limited.

The day’s events commenced around 8.15 am in the presence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, foreign diplomats, Ministers, MPs and Police and Armed Forces personnel.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was welcomed at Independence Square for the Independence Day celebrations by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, and Defence Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne.

The event, themed “A Prosperous Tomorrow - A Prosperous Motherland” officially commenced as the President graced the event and hoisted the National Flag.

The National Anthem was sung while the President hoisted the National Flag, by schoolgirls from several multilingual girls’ schools in the Western Province.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was then escorted to the special podium by the Tri Forces Commanders and the IGP and a group of schoolchildren recited the Jayamangala Gatha and Devo Wassathu Kalena followed by a 21 Gun Salute by the Artillery Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army.

A Tri-Service Guard of Honour was accorded to the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President addressed the Nation thereafter. It was broadcast live on all local radio and TV channels.

Subsequent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation the Armed Forces' parade commenced consisting of 3,153 Army personnel, 874 Navy personnel, 700 Air Force personnel, 510 Police personnel, and 457 Civil Security Force personnel.

The Air Force fly-by was staged with 24 aircraft of the Air Force including a 212 helicopter, four 412 helicopters, four Mi 70s, five Cessnas, three Y12s, two Beechcrafts, two MA 60s and three F7 aircraft.

Several colourful cultural events were also held with the participation of around 340 dancers and musicians. This year’s Independence Day celebrations were held in accordance with the COVID-19 health guidelines in a simple manner on the directives of the President.

Religious leaders of all major denominations, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the First Lady Ioma Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his spouse Shiranthi Rajapaksa, former President Maithripala Sirisena, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda, Marshal of the Sri Lanka Air Force and Governor of the Western Province Roshan Gunatilleke, State Ministers, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence General Kamal Gunaratne, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Inspector-General of Police C.D. Wickremaratne, Director General of the Civil Security Department Rear Admiral Ananda Pieris, Secretaries to Ministries, District Secretary for Colombo, Additional Secretaries, Ambassadors and Officers were present on the occasion.

The 73rd Independence Day Parade at the Independence Square concluded around 10.45 am.

At 12 noon yesterday, the Navy honoured the Nation with a 25-Gun Salute at the Light House, Chaithya Road, Colombo and the Navy displayed several vessels from their fleet, including several landing craft at the Galle Face beach around 4.00 p.m. yesterday.