Feb 04, Colombo: For Sri Lanka today 'freedom' has a different meaning from the time the nation received the freedom from the British colonial rule, President Maithripala Sirisena said today addressing the nation at the 69th Independence Day celebrations.
"Great heroes of the motherland in the past dedicated a lot and even sacrificed their lives for the freedom. But the freedom, which we talk about today, is about the human freedom, media freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought and freedom for peaceful assembly," the President said.
The 69th Independence Anniversary was held today (04) under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Galle Face Green in Colombo.
Speaking to the nation, President Sirisena said in the 21st century, ethnic reconciliation and religious harmony are essential for the political stability, and the social development needed.
President Sirisena said that the reconciliation process is admired locally and internationally and drawn the praise of those in Sri Lanka and overseas.
"But when the government is working towards that purpose some parties oppose it. Those working against the reconciliation process are clearly working against the country," the President added.
He called upon all sections of the society to work with determination and commitment to win economic freedom through achieving the goal of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
“We should allow the economic freedom of the country. We need the support from the intellectuals. Priority should be given to the youth of the country to win the modern world”, he said.
The President said the economic freedom could be achieved through a knowledge based economy with innovative technical skill development.
He said in the 21st Century, the nations need knowledge based education, knowledge economy, innovative economy, digital economy and in this process the youths should play a pivotal role.
The President called on the politicians and the public officers to be free from, fraud, corruption, waste, and theft when the country is moving towards economic prosperity, adding that the politicians working honestly and public officers fulfilling their responsibility properly are timely needs for that economic prosperity.
President Sirisena called upon the people to fulfill the responsibilities and duties to build a nation which is economically prosperous, fortified in knowledge and maintains international goodwill.
The President also paid tribute to the war heroes of the country from Tri forces, Police, and Civil Security Department (CSD), who dedicated their lives to protect the country during the 30-year war.
A 21-Gun Salute was offered to the President at this occasion by the Tri forces while the Sri Lanka Navy offered a 25-Gun Salute to the Nation at the end of the ceremony.
The colorful military parade with over 8,000 personnel showcased the proud history of the Tri forces, Police, and the CSD.
Religious Dignitaries, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Chief Justice K. Sripavan, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Commanders of Tri forces, IGP, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Foreign diplomats, and many other dignitaries were present at the event.