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* Sri Lanka President marks Independence Day, says hard decisions are also necessary for progress
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 12:16 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 04, Kataragama: Sri Lanka with great pomp and pageantry celebrated its 63rd Independence Day in the sacred city of Kataragama in the Southern Province under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning.

The opening of the Independence Day celebrations with hoisting the National Flag by President Rajapaksa was followed by parades of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy, Air Force, the Police, and the Civil Defence Force. A highlight of the celebrations was the colorful dance presentations by school children from all over the country.

Addressing the nation following the pageantry President Rajapaksa said the people of Sri Lanka must change their attitudes about future progress of the country, similar to the attitude they had to win the war against terrorism.

"There is the need for an enormous attitudinal change from children to adults to achieve national development," the President said.

Stressing the need for a law abiding society the President said all this hard-won battles will not make freedom meaningful in the absence of a law-abiding society.

"Therefore, we are committed to building a law-abiding society. The respect for discipline in a society is essential for development," he emphasized.

President Rajapaksa pointed out that the country cannot be developed solely on popular decisions and inconvenient and difficult decisions are also necessary for the nation's progress.

"It is the nation's responsibility to take hard and difficult decisions to bring light to the future of our children, rather than take popular decisions that will lead them to darkness ahead," President Rajapaksa said.

President Rajapaksa this afternoon is scheduled to open the Deyata Kirula, the annual mega exhibition that coincides with the country's Independence Day celebrations.

The 5th annual Deyata Kirula exhibition that will be held from 4th to 11th February 2011 at Buttala in the Moneragala district will showcase the development of the country during the previous year.

Full text of the President's speech

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