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Victory parade to remember war heroes



Kilinochchi War Memorial

It is well known that Sri Lankans have short memories. However if they tend to forget the red-letter day in which our heroic forces under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa achieved victory against the most ruthless terror outfit in the world they would be the most ungrateful.

One year has already elapsed since our War Heroes achieved the great victory.

It was the day the people in the country beamed with smiles when they heard the news of the death of the megalomaniac terror leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the prelude to the dawn of a new era of peace and prosperity in the country.

People are ready to show their gratitude to the War Heroes as they are preparing to mark the first anniversary of the victory over terrorism.

As the nation is about to celebrate the first anniversary of the victory, recalling how our brave troops won the battle against the LTTE, the Defence Ministry opened two new war memorials, one in Elephant Pass and the other in Kilinochchi, which were two epic centres during the battle against the LTTE.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa along with the Security Forces Commanders, Police Chief and the field commanders who commanded the battles during the war, opened the two memorials.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the first war memorial on the banks of Nanthikadal Lagoon in Mullaitivu in 2009.

The memories of yesteryear have changed as those theatres of war have become accessible to one and all.


 Victory parade in 2009

Two days after the completion of the military operation following the death of terror leader Prabhakaran on the banks of Nanthikadal Lagoon, the military silenced their guns after firing the last bullets into the open seas in Vellamullivaikkal, people have distanced themselves from those nightmare memories.

However, almost one year after the victory day, the Security Forces are now forming those battle formations again in the Eastern, Northern and Vanni theatres to mark the great victory.

The old battle formations which have become part and parcel of the people of this country during those days of battles, will be re-enacted at the Victory Parade on May 20, the biggest event that has been organised by the Ministry of Defence to mark the first anniversary of the victory.

“They are set to rehearse for this victory parade from May 13 at the Galle Face Green recalling the memories of the battles they fought against the LTTE”, a military official said.

According to military officials Security Forces, Police and the Civil Defence Forces who together contributed to the victory in the Eastern, Northern and Vanni battles will march in the victory parade.

“All offensive Divisions and Task Forces and the Divisions which held the ground during the fighting will march separately in the victory parade under each theatre”, a senior military official said.

“Each regiment will be given representation in the parade, under each theatre, according to their contribution to the battles in the Eastern, Northern and Vanni theatres”, the military official said.


Elephant Pass War Memorial

The Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force will also march under each theatre representing their contribution in the battle against the LTTE.

“The theatre wise formation of the victory parade will be a special feature at the victory parade and it will depict the battle formation of each theatre”, the official added.

He also said field commanders who commanded those battle formations during the war will command each Division in the parade as well.

“All the supporting arms and logistics battalions will also march in the same parade under each theatre”, he said.

A mechanised infantry column and a display of weapons used by the Infantry troops will follow the main parade.

The Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force will conduct an Air show and a Naval show displaying their aircraft and Navy vessels and boats.

“More than 30 Navy vessels, gunboats and other craft will be displayed in the Navy show”, a spokesman for the Navy said.

As a prelude to this colourful event Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has declared a ‘Ranaviru Week’ from May 10 to 17 commemorate the fallen War Heroes and those who contributed to victory.

“The Governors of all provinces are set to organise programs to remember the fallen War Heroes with the participation of the family members of those War Heroes”, Military Spokesman Major General Prasad Samarasinghe said.

During this week the Sri Lanka Army will also organise ceremonies Regimental wise and area wise, to remember the fallen War Heroes, he said.

“The laying of foundation for the ‘Abhimansala’ a shelter for 52 permanently disabled Army personnel in Anuradhapura on May 15, by Army Commander Lt. General Jagath Jayasuriya will be highlight in the programs organised by the Sri Lanka Army during this Ranaviru Week”, he said.

The Seva Vanitha Unit of the Sri Lanka Army launched ‘Brave Heart’ a campaign to raise funds for this project to take care of those permanently disabled personnel for the rest of their lives.

Military Spokesman General Prasad Samarasinghe said that the Defence Ministry will carry out its Api Veniven Api program with renewed vigour to accelerate the housing program for soldiers at their villages.

“The Defence Ministry is keen on continuing this program as most of the people tend to forget the War Heroes who made the greatest sacrifices their motherland”, he said.

A special war memorial ceremony to remember the fallen War Heroes will be held on May 20, after the victory parade at War Memorial at the Parliament premises with President Rajapaksa as the chief guest.The week-long ceremonies will conduct on May 22, with an all-night Pirith chanting ceremony conclude at the BMICH with the participation of 3,000 Bhikkhus, Major General Samarasinghe said.

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