Sri Lanka Navy honours the nation with a 25 – gun salute on Independence Day

To commemorate the 69th Independence Day of the motherland, the Sri Lanka Navy, filled with national pride, accorded a 25 – gun salute to the nation today (4) at the Lighthouse premises in Colombo Fort at 12.00 noon. This customary 25- gun salute awarded by the Navy, is the highest of its kind only entitled to the motherland as a mark of respect. The gun salute party which performed the firing of canoes as a military honour, was commanded by the Commanding Officer, SLNS Parakrama Captain Nishantha Amarosa following the directives of the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and guidance of the Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Niraja Attygalle.

Sri Lanka Navy is the First Line of Defence of the island-nation and plays a vital role in protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. Out of a number of customary rites the Navy performs the gun salute accorded on the Independence Day is a matter of the highest priority as long as the national importance of the event is concerned.

History says that two of the guns used for the occasion were first brought to Sri Lanka from the United Kingdom in order to accord a gun salute to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip who were to visit the island after a tour in South Africa. But she had not been able to complete the tour as her father, King George VI, had passed away and had to return. However, on the funeral day a 56-Gun Salute had been accorded by the Navy as the King’s age was 56 years. That was the highest ever Gun Salute accorded by the Navy in its 65-year illustrious history.

In 1948, the Navy had fired a 15-gun salute at the Galle Face Green on the first Independence Day. In 1949, the Gun Salute had been accorded onboard HMCyS ‘Vijaya’, the Navy’s first warship. After the HMCyS ‘Vijaya’ was decommissioned, the guns had been fixed at a place called Galle Buck Bay in the Colombo Harbour. Due to the Colombo harbour development and expansion, the guns had been brought to the present premises at the Lighthouse in the Fort of Colombo. At present, on February 04th, the Independence Day, the 25-Gunfire Salute is accorded to the nation by the Navy, exactly at 1200 hrs at noon, continuing the time-honoured tradition.