Defenders of the Nation mark 72nd Anniversary | Daily News

Defenders of the Nation mark 72nd Anniversary

The Sri Lanka Army marked its 72nd anniversary on Sunday as the finest and most trusted service provider in the country whose scope of dedication, courage, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice has led to the admiration of the entire Nation more than ever before.

The incumbent Army Commander General Shavendra Silva who is also the Defence Staff Chief, at this milestone anniversary, while paying tribute to the memory of all fallen War Heroes and remembering injured War Heroes, retired War Heroes, serving officers, all ranks and members of the Civil Staff on this 72nd Army Day, conveyed his best wishes and greetings.

General Shavendra Silva also extended sincere thanks to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for gracing the Army Day anniversary ceremonies as the Chief Guest, held at Saliyapura, Gajaba Regiment Regimental Headquarters for the first time in history and for granting record promotions to 567 Officers and 10,368 Other Ranks in the Army.

This year’s commemoration assumed greater significance owing to the participation of the President who himself was a distinguished former Keterian alias the first incumbent President ever-groomed by the prestigious Gajaba Regiment. Among other participants is Defence Secretary (Rtd) General Kamal Gunaratne, who is also a reputed member of the Keterian family.

The Army was founded on October 10, 1949 as the Ceylon Army after forming its first Regular Force under the command of Brigadier R. Sinclair. Brigadier Anton Muttukumaru later became the first Sri Lankan Commander of the then Ceylon Army.

Blossomed into a full-fledged professional Army during the last 72 years, the Sri Lanka Army to date has been effectively commanded by 23 Commanders, elevating the mammoth organisation to impressive heights.

General Shavendra Silva is determined to bring a new lease of life to this esteemed organisation with his visionary concept already set in motion and successfully implemented, considering potential future military perspectives in line with the “Way Forward Strategy 2020-2025”.

The pioneering service rendered by Army personnel without any hesitation has contributed largely to peace and reconciliation in the country. In the same manner, it is worth noting that the Army is always at the forefront, and immensely assists to restore normality as early as possible when national disasters, emergencies and natural catastrophes, etc. hit this island. The present pandemic is no exception.

The 72nd Army Anniversary commemorative religious programmes, as usual, started at Kandy Sri Dalada Maligawa, followed by Hindu, Islamic and Catholic religious observances, special offerings at Kataragama, Kiri Vehera, Pirith chanting and alms-giving at the Army Headquarters and at Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, where all Army flags were symbolically blessed. The offering of floral tributes to the War Heroes’ Monument in Battaramulla was also among the main features of the anniversary celebrations.

The dignified and spectacular final highlight at the Gajaba Regiment Regimental Headquarters with the President as the Chief Guest on the Army Day ended the chain of anniversary arrangements for this year. As the inspirational statesman, Winston Churchill once stated: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” That is exactly what the Sri Lanka Army’s journey is all about in essence.

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