As thousands of national flags fluttered in the breeze all around, the 69th National Independence day of Sri Lanka was celebrated with parades and pageants at Galle Face Green on 4th February 2017.
The main ceremony was dignified by the presence of His Excellency, the President Maithripala Sirisena and the First Lady Mrs. Sirisena. The Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Governor of the Western Province, Ministers, the Chief Justice, and Tri-Service Commanders, the Inspector General of the Police, State Secretaries, Diplomats and other distinguished dignitaries also graced the occasion. Religious dignitaries, Ambassadors and a massive crowd of spectators were present at the historical venue in Galle Face Green to witness the National Day proceedings.
The celebrations commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag by His Excellency the President amidst the beating of “magul bera” and blowing of conch shells. Later, three service Commanders and the Inspector General of the Police conducted the President to the special dais, opposite which twenty-five school girls recited Jayamangala Gatha to invoke blessings of the noble Triple Gem on the Nation and also the “Devo Vassatu Kalena” stanza to bless the Nation.
Subsequently, a Guard of Honour followed by a twenty-one gun salute was accorded to the President by the Armed Forces. Thereafter, His Excellency the President delivered the address to the nation.
Air Vice Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana coordinated the Flypast, comprising 30 Aircraft including one Bell 212, three Bell 412, four MI 17, five Cessna 150, three PT6, four Y 12, two B 200, one C 130, one AN 32, one MA 60, three K 8, one Kfir and one F 7 aircraft. Wing Commander Sanath Fanando and Squadron Leader Chanaka Maligaspe Navigated the Flypast and Air Traffic Controlling was coordinated by Air Commodore Prasanna Payoe.
Air Commodore Ravindra Liyangamage represented the Sri Lanka Air Force as overall parade commander. 65 Officers, 05 Lady Officers, 954 Airmen and 101 Air Women participated in the parade to salute the President. The SLAF parade comprising five Squadrons was commanded by Wg Cdr Roshan Gunawardana.