May 19, Colombo: The 13th anniversary of National War Heroes’ Day was commemorated in a simple ceremony this afternoon (May 19) at the Battaramulla National War Heroes’ Monument with the attendance of Commander -In-Chief President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest.
Secretary of Defense Retired General Kamal Gunaratne, Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Army, Commanders of the Navy and Air Force and the Inspector General of Police were also present.
During the ceremony, 28,619 fallen War Heroes of the Army (23,962), Navy (1,160), Air Force (443), Police (2,598) and 456 Civil Security Department personnel, who had made the supreme sacrifice in the fight against the LTTE terrorism before May 2009 were respectfully remembered for their valor, gallantry, selfless dedication and invaluable sacrifices offering floral tributes.
Issuing a message to mark the day that wiped out the three decades of LTTE terror, the President said the brave war heroes who safeguarded the freedom and territorial integrity of the motherland will never be forgotten under any circumstances.
“That’s because we always respect the sacrifices they have made,” adding that despite the political and economic crises, the National War Heroes Day will be commemorated this year as well by recalling the immense sacrifices made by the war heroes for national causes.
The President said no one expected the crisis situation the country is going through today.
“The economic crisis has expanded towards a political and social upheaval. Under any circumstances, we will not disregard the policy towards safeguarding sovereignty and independence of this country. That is because our desire is to protect the motherland above all else.”
“Our brave war heroes put an end to the war and brought peace to the country through a humanitarian operation. There was no hatred, anger or revenge in it. Therefore, there is no room for racism or any other form of extremism in the motherland where peace was established. We regard it as a unique value in Sri Lankan society,” he said.
“We have gone through many challenging eras and occasions in the history. It should not be forgotten that the patriots always took the lead. The war heroes of the country represent this group. Therefore, it is important to recall that the history too has given you the responsibility of working cautiously after prudently considering the current challenge.”
President emphasized that there is no doubt that various local, foreign groups and individuals are trying to use the economic and political crisis as a pretext to influence national security. “We must defeat it together. Only then will the courageous war hero’s commitment to the country be preserved,” he said in his message.
“On the occasion of the National War Heroes’ Day, I pay my respects and honor to the brave war heroes who sacrificed their lives or became disabled to safeguard the freedom and independence of the nation,” the President said.