Message on The First Annual War Heroes
by the President of Sri Lanka
June 7, 2000
The Most Venerable Members of the Maha Sangha, and the Clergy of other
religions, My dear Fellow Country men/women.
As you know, the Government has declared 7th of June as the Day of
the War Heroes. On this Day by observing two minutes silence at 9.30
a.m., the people of Sri Lanka will join me and my Government in saluting
the 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 and I may live in comfort and peace. We are mindful
of the fact that too many have paid the supreme sacrifice and been killed,
maimed or missing in action. 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.
On behalf of the Nation, let me on this occasion extend our deep gratitude
to those families who have given their children, husbands, fathers,
brothers and sisters to the Defence Forces, in order to defend the unity
and integrity of our motherland.
At 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. Religious observances and blessings
on our defence forces and their families will be one way of assistance
and social action the other. Social action can take many forms such
as sharing the grief, supporting their welfare and in short to make
them feel that the wider society has not forgotten them.
On the part of the Government, we have done much. The Ranaviru Seva
Authority to look after the welfare of the members of the armed forces
and police who have died, are missing in action, disabled and those
actively in service has been set up. We have started programmes to build
houses and to empower the disabled servicemen and families of those
killed or missing in action by means of a programme of skills development,
securing employment and adopting a foster family scheme. A Human Disaster
Intervention Unit has been set up to go into the psycho-social problems
of the families of Defence Forces. This unit has already started functioning
with the assistance of Community Organisations.
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. 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.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that our cherished dream of peace
can be achieved only through a political solution of giving space for
every citizen of this country to live in dignity and harmony.
We have finally come to an understanding and are reaching a consensus
among all political parties, to forge ahead with a new constitution
which will spell out a new vision for nationhood and a new idea of the
State based on multi-ethnicity, devolution of power and functional democracy.
Let this first Ranaviru Day be the starting point for all citizens
to give continuous moral support to those at the battlefront and their
families, and to relentlessly pledge ourselves to remembrance and peace.
We shall overcome. Together we will win. Let us pledge ourselves to