Sri Lanka marks War Heroes Day
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 June 2000, 08:16 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government observed Wednesday as Ranaviru Day ('War Heroes' Day) in several parts of the island. A two-minute silence was observed at 9.30 a.m. Addressing the ceremony at her offices in downtown Colombo, President Chandrika Kumaratunge said the event was initiated by her government "to salute members of the Sri Lanka Armed Services and the Police who are dead, missing in action, disabled and those who are fighting a valiant battle on our behalf to keep the nation together".
"Let us bow our heads in homage to those who are making the supreme sacrifice, so that you abide may live in comfort and peace," the President said.
"We are mindful of the fact that too many have paid the supreme sacrifice and been killed, maimed or missing in action," she said. "Let us grieve with their parents, families, relatives and friends but take courage by the fact that they have not been lost in vain but lost in the patriotic struggle of defending the honour, dignity and unity of the motherland."
"Therefore let us all love and remember them in our prayers at the going down of the sun and in the morning, as Heroes of our times," she said.
"As this hour of trial, I appeal to the entire country to come forward and assist the families of those brave soldiers who are dead or maimed and those who are at the front," she said. "Religious observances and blessings on our defence forces and their families will be one way of assistance and social action the other."
"At this finest hour, I wish to take the opportunity to thank the large numbers of men, women and children who have contributed in kind, cash and services in spite of the many difficulties they themselves experience in their day to day lives," the President said. "I appreciate the contributions made to the National Security Fund, Ranaviru Surakum Fund and the Sudu Nelum Movement by many well-wishers. At the same time we are much encouraged by the offers of assistance by private sector."
Several Members of Parliament and others who took part in the function at the Presidential Secretariat donated money and land to support the government's welfare measures for the families of soldiers killed in action and permanently disabled soldiers, said officials.