Sri Lanka Army says that arrangements have been finalized for the mega ‘Aaloka Pooja’ (lighting) ceremony at Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya on Saturday (19) evening, to commemorate all fallen War Heroes who laid their precious lives against LTTE terrorism, coinciding with the main ceremony on National War Heroes’ Day (May 19) at Battaramulla.
The conduct of the ‘Aaloka Pooja’ that kindles 28,619 lamps, an unprecedented move, dedicated symbolically to each fallen tri service and Police War Hero and those who went missing in action during the LTTE violence is being held on a conceptual notion of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake. This is with a view to transferring merits to supreme sacrifices and lauding their memories of gallantry and valour, sacrificed for defence of the motherland to create a better tomorrow for all in the island, the army said.
President Maithripala Sirisena, Chief of Defence Staff, Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force, Inspector General of Police and Director General, Civil Security Department and a representative gathering of next of kin of fallen War Heroes are expected to set light to those lamps at Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya before offer of Gilanpasa and religious observances, amid beating of Hewisi drums takes place after the President makes the traditional invitation to the monks.
Meanwhile, all country-wide Security Force Headquarters, Divisions, Forward Maintenance Areas, Brigades, Units, Army Training Schools, Logistic Command, Regimental Centres, Field Headquarters and War Hero Rehabilitation Centres on the directions of the Commander of the Army are scheduled to commemorate their fallen comrades concurrently at 9.30 a.m. at all those places on Friday (18).
Flag-raising, recital of the National Anthem and the army song, two-minute silence, reading of the Commander’s War Heroes’ Day message, followed by a brief address to the troops by respective heads of institutions are among highlights of those army commemorative ceremonies.
The National War Heroes’ Day commemorative arrangements is meanwhile scheduled to get underway on 19 May at Battaramulla War Heroes’ monument, headed by the President and with the participation of Prime Minister, Speaker, Governors, Ministers, Chief Ministers, Secretary Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force, Inspector General of Police, Director General, Civil Security Department, RSA Chairperson, state officials and a representative gathering of relatives.
President Maithripala Sirisena along with the Prime Minister, Speaker, Secretary Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Army, Navy and Air Force Commanders and the IGP are expected to lay floral wreaths at the cenotaph and salute all War Heroes of our times.
Next, with the sounding of the Last Post honouring their memory in military way would mark the culmination of the formal ceremony with trumpeters playing the Reveille at Battaramulla.
The same morning (19) unblemished and outstanding service of 50 Army, Navy and Air Force Senior Officers who now are considered war veterans is to be honoured by awarding the prestigious Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya (VSV) Medal that recognizes their exceptional, distinguished and loyal dedication to the Nation with a record of moral and military conduct.
The ceremony, is to be graced by the President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Secretariat as one more segment of the chain of memorial events. Among recipients of those VSV laurels are the Commander of the Army, Commander of the Navy and the Commander of the Air Force, in addition to 24 more Army, 22 Navy and 1 Air Force War Heroes, some of who are now in retirement.
In the meantime, Sri Lanka Army, together with the Ranaviru Seva Authority (RSA) joined island-wide state-patronized commemorative arrangements of fallen War Heroes at provincial levels in the past fortnight