May 18, Matara: Sri Lanka today is celebrating the peace achieved through sacrifice of lives and not the victory of war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said addressing the nation at the fifth anniversary Victory Day celebrations in the southern town of Matara today.
"This is not a victory of war, but a victory of peace," the President said adding that the peace achieved by the security forces through great sacrifice of lives must be preserved and remembered by all irrespective of objections from anyone.
He said that Sri Lanka is not ready to stop celebrating the day the peace was brought to the country after 30 years of war due to external pressure.
"Irrespective of objections from anyone, irrespective of who participates or not, we should celebrate this great victory forever," he said.
He noted that terrorism by the Tamil Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka eliminated not only Sinhala leaders, but well-respected Tamil political leaders as well but nobody wants to remember them.
Referring to Tamil leaders Alfred Durayappa, Amirthalingam, Neelan Thiruchelvam, Ravi Raj, Kadirgamar, Sam Thambimuttu and P. Dharmalingam, father of TNA MP, Dharmalingam Siddharthan assassinated by the LTTE, the President said those who value peace should pay homage to such people who sacrificed their lives.
The President said the areas ravaged by the terrorism are being developed rapidly. "Having defeated terrorism, we are taking the country on a rapid development path," the President told the people.
Speaking in Tamil briefly, the President asked the Tamil people not to be misled by the false propaganda. He said trying to uplift terrorism again is the biggest injustice to the Tamil people.
He said the Tamil diaspora with the support of foreign funds is attempting to divide the country again and assured that the government will not leave any room for such a move ever again.
The President asserted that Sri Lanka will fearlessly and correctly face any challenges against the country.
He also noted that a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) has been appointed for a dialogue and that is the best forum for discussions on a national issue. He urged all political parties to join the committee and discuss the issues.
He asked the nation to respect the war heroes, who departed to build a nation where people will live together, and not to betray the freedom won by them with the sacrifice.
The ceremony began with the hoisting of the flag and remembering over 24,000 fallen members of the Security Forces by observing a two-minute silence.
A grand military parade with all the contingents of the three armed forces, Police and Civil Defence Force followed a state Guard of Honour by the members of the armed forces accorded to the Commander-in-Chief the armed forces, the President.
The parade included 3,734 army, 1,189 navy, 1,100 air force, 643 police and 578 civil defense personnel of other ranks according to President's Twitter feed.