Sri Lanka proudly celebrates 69th Independence Day

The Sri Lanka Navy being the sea-going arm of the nation, took part in the 69thIndependence Day celebrations held on the theme of ‘ National Unity’ at Galle Face Green, Colombo today (4). The occasion was graced by the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, as the Chief Guest. Meanwhile, Religious dignitaries, the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Commanders of the Armed Forces, the Inspector General of Police and Government officials were also present on this august national ceremony.  A crowd of people also poured into the streets in great grate numbers to witness the 69th celebration of the Independence Day. The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne was also among the distinguished invitees who were present at this national ceremony.

The proceedings of the 69th Independence Day celebrations kicked off with the hoisting of the National Flag by His Excellency the President on an auspicious note, amidst the beating of ‘MagulBera’ and blowing of conch shells. Going by the customs and traditions involved in the hoisting of the National Flag, the naval personnel of the Communication Branch made all ceremonial arrangements ready for the magisterial hoisting of the National Flag. Soon after the flag hoisting, 110 students from the schools in Colombo joined singing the National Anthem for which the music was played by the Sri Lanka Navy’s Oriental Orchestra.

Subsequently, a Guard of Honour followed by a 21 Gun Salute was awarded to HE the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The delivery of HE the President’s address to the nation soon ensued.

Thereafter, the distinguished invitees and crowd could witness the majestic Independence Day parade where Commodore Ananda Guruge was on the pilot vehicle representing the Sri Lanka Navy. Meanwhile, Commander Janaka Bandara Hettiarachchi led the naval contingent comprised of 6 divisions made up of naval personnel representing the Drill Instructors, Naval Headquarters, the Afloat Command, the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) and women sailors. Incidentally, a total of 910 naval personnel including marched in the Independence Day parade clad in their traditional blue, white and camouflage outfits to the tunes played by the Navy Band in attendance. Upholding the honour of the Navy, the President’s Colours of the Naval Headquarters, Eastern, Northern, Afloat commands and Maritime Academy, conferred as the highest accolade for the exceptional service rendered to the nation, being paraded symbolizing the gesture of the memories of all naval personnel who made the supreme sacrifice in the name of the motherland.

Displaying their true identity in parades and drills a Drill Instructor division of the Sri Lanka Navy marched ahead under the command of Fleet Chief Petty Officer (DI) Sumith Kumara. The division from the Naval Headquarters made up of naval personnel from all branches, was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Buddhika Sampath. Meanwhile, the naval personnel belonging to the Afloat Command which is fully fledged with a wide array of ships, craft and small boats, marched in the parade paying their utmost respect under the command of Lieutenant Commander Eranda Wickramasinghe. The elite forces of the Sri Lanka Navy, the Special Boat Squadron which is capable of clandestine, waterborne entry and even air mobile to operate deep in the enemy controlled land, was led by Lieutenant Commander Chamara Liyanage. Similarly, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Duminda Dayananda the Rapid Action Boat Squadron that is expert in small boat and littoral operations marched next in the parade. Thereafter, the Navy’s women sailor division comprising members from Medical, Communication, Supply and Information Technology Branches paraded under the command of Lieutenant Chamalie Karunarathna.

In parallel with the parade on ground, the 07 ships, 12 Fast Attack Craft and 15 Cedric Boats lead by the Flagship Vessel of the Sri Lanka Navy SLNS Sayura, also sailed past in formation in the seas off Galle Face Green paying their respect to HE the President.

Showcasing their weaponry in its arsenal the march of Sri Lanka Navy Armoured parade ensued under the leadership of Commander Nalaka Abesuriya.

The proceedings of the parade came to a climax with the parachute display presented by the tri-force personnel. Representing the Sri Lanka Navy, five paratroopers including Commander Dharmasiri Herath and Master Chief Petty Officer Jagath Sri Lal took part in this exciting display of parachute jump from a height of 6000 feet.