The 75th National Independence Day celebration was held under the theme “Namo Namo Mata - A Step towards the Century”, under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 4 February at Galle Face Green.
The event was organised with great pride and dignity ensuring minimal cost and the aim was to showcase the pride and past glory of the Sri Lankan nation to the world.
The Sri Lanka Army clarinet players heralded the arrival of the President with fanfare, and he was received on arrival by the Chief of Defence Staff, Tri Forces Commanders and the Inspector General of Police and was escorted to the main flag post.
The day’s events commenced with the President unfurling the National Flag amidst the rhythm of traditional drums (Magul Bera) and the blowing of conch shells.
Thereafter, the President was escorted to the special podium while 105 students recited the National Anthem followed by the reciting of Jaya Mangala Gatha and ‘Devo Vassathu Kalena’ Gatha.
Two minutes of silence was observed to commemorate all Sri Lankans who have sacrificed their lives for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Thereafter, 21-gun salutes were fired and the three-armed forces, the police and the Civil Defence Force coloured the 75th Independence Day celebration parade showcasing Sri Lanka’s sovereignty to the world.
The vehicle carrying the statue of the Lion, symbolising the strength and magnanimity of the Sri Lankan nation, joined the parade with 100 personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Service Department marching ahead carrying national flags.
The parade also included armoured vehicles of the Tri forces, parades representing regiments and armed forces, including 21 retired officers and 29 disabled officers, followed by the Tri-forces march past and bands.
An air show including Kafir aircraft displaying the Sri Lanka Air Force air power added colour to the event, while Sri Lanka’s naval power was also proudly displayed by a Sri Lanka Navy sail past. A colourful parachute show added an element of excitement to the parade.
The Maha Sangha and other religious leaders, First Lady Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers, Governors, Members of Parliament, and foreign delegates including Nepal Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal, Japan Foreign Affairs State Minister Takei Shunsuke, Bhutan Education and Skills Development Minister Jai Bir Rai, Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Pakistan Foreign Affairs State Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, India External Affairs State Minister V. Muraleedharan and Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland participated in the 75th Independence Celebration.
In addition, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary, Defence Secretary and other ministry secretaries, Chief of Defence Staff and Tri-Forces Commanders, Director General of the CSD, security heads, state officials and war heroes were also among those who attended the Independence Parade.
Pix by Shehan Gunasekara, Department of Government information and President Media