The 69th Independence Day celebrations highlighting National Unity, took place at the Galle Face Green today, with President Maithripala Sirisena presiding over the event. A two-minute silence was observed in honour of national heroes who made the supreme sacrifice to protect and preserve the freedom and the territorial integrity of the country. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe , Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya , Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge , ministers , MPs , diplomats and other dignitaries attended the event.
Speaking at the event, the president said that it is important to remember the valiant war heroes who fought to save the country from L. T. T. E. terrorism throughout 30 years.
He pointed out that it is necessary to strengthen the national as well as religious reconciliation in the country and that the government has given priority in this regard.
“I clearly state that even though we receive accolades locally and internationally for our commitment and determination to establish national reconciliation and peace in the country, there are some opportunistic elements who act against those noble efforts of the Government. I describe those opportunist forces as a section of society who acts against the country” said the president.
The president also spoke on the country’s economic plan. noting that priority is being given to provide requisite guidance to the young generation to acquire new knowledge to conquer the world and also to build this country based on the concept of the knowledge economy.
“I believe everyone will fulfill their respective duties in achieving noble national goals”, he said.
The president added that there exists the imperative need for eliminating corruption, bribery, malpractices, waste and fraud and it is essential for the politicians and public servants to work honestly and with commitment.
“It is essential for the politician to be a character of honesty and commitment. Furthermore, I trust the politicians and public servants fulfill the responsibilities and duties honestly and with commitment to build the Motherland”, he said.
Over 7,000 individuals represented the three armed forces, police, civil security force, National Cadet Corps and the National Youth Corps at the 69th Independence Day parade.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Independence Day message said that in order to make the spirit of freedom more meaningful to us all, the government must take steps that reaffirm the liberties of the people with regard to their economic, social and spiritual well being.
Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero , the Mahanayaka of Malwathu Chapter said that everyone should commit to gain economic development and prosperity in the country, keeping unity and development of the country in foremost place and protecting one’s religious beliefs as well as cultural identities and through improving coexistence and humanitarian morals.
He adds that although 69 years have been spend after the independence, ill-effects of the colonial age have not been completely overcome.
Most Ven. Warakagoda Gnanarathana Thero , Mahanayake of Asgiri Chapter says that everyone could fulfil their obligations to themselves, their families, their religion and their nation by fostering national and religious reconciliation and deviating from narrow minded politics.
His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo in a message on Independence Day said that narrow racial and communal attitudes are not the way to experience the true independence, adding that all should unite as citizens with equal rights to gain the true independence.