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Message on The First Annual War Heroes Day

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 peace.





Copyright © 2001 SATP. All rights reserved.