Sri Lanka High Commission in Australia celebrated the 69th anniversary of Independence on 4 February at the High Commission premises with the participation of over 300 Sri Lankans in Canberra.
After the hoisting of the National Flag by High Commissioner Skandakumar, schoolchildren supported by adults sang the National Anthem in Sinhala and Tamil which was followed by two minutes silence to honour all those who sacrificed their lives for the Independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Clergy representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islam faiths, invoked blessings on the people of Sri Lanka.
Thereafter, the National Day Messages of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera were read out.
Addressing the large gathering High Commissioner Skandakumar said that the messages explicitly outlined the national unity Government’s vision for the ensuing year.
He thanked the community for their participation at all events conducted by the Mission and recalled that the success of the Sri Lankan festival held at the Mission on 12 Nov 2016 was an indication of what was possible when we came together and supported each other.
He reflected on the commendable cross nation walk a few years ago from South to North that enabled a cancer hospital to be built in Tellipalai and an identical initiative by equally dedicated Srilankans of all ethnicities and religious faiths who covered over 600 kilometres in the month of October 2016, to raise funds for a similar facility in the South.
These projects he said underlined the true meaning of unity and reconciliation and impacted our people deeply.
The High Commissioner related an incident associated with that walk where a disabled beggar seated on the road with crutches by his side, donated his day’s collection to the project, touching the hearts of all.
All of these he said remind us that we are indeed a nation of caring and compassionate people and expressed the hope that a year from now when we celebrate our 70th year of Independence, we can each look back on the preceding twelve months and say with conviction that we did make a sincere contribution to the Government’s pledge for Peace, and reconciliation.