Historic gun battle memories at Elephant Pass immortalized
'History does not long entrust the care of
freedom to the weak or the timid' - General D.D Eisenhower
Immortalizing memories of the fierce gun battles,
fought by valiant War Heroes at the strategic Elephant Pass, a special
War Hero Memorial, erected in honour of fallen War Heroes, was
ceremonially unveiled by Secretary Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa Friday
(30) morning, amidst a pantheon of military chiefs, including Chief of
Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Commander of the Navy.
Elephant Pass War Hero Memorial, a fitting tribute to
the memory of thousands of gallant soldiers whose legendary heroic saga
speaks of more deeds than words, will from now onwards remain for ever,
mustering reverence and admiration of the Nation since they all had laid
their lives for the sake of country's territorial integrity and unitary
nature during those battles, reminiscent of historic Gannoruwa battles
in 1638. The monument also stands out as a token of living memory for
soldiers since it was the point where northbound 57 and 58 Divisions met
up with their fellow soldiers from 53 and 55 Divisions who were moving
southward from Jaffna.
Elephant Pass, the bottleneck gateway to Jaffna
peninsula fell into Army hands on 9th January 2009 again after Elephant
Pass Army camp was captured by LTTE terrorists on 20th April 2000.
Heroic soldiers, as the Wanni humanitarian operations were on, torpedoed
LTTE strongholds completely and recaptured the entire isthmus, marking a
milestone in the annals of the Eelam history.
Friday's (30) unveiling of the Elephant Pass War Hero
Memorial by Mr Rajapaksa on the invitation of Lieutenant General Jagath
Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army signals the importance being attached
to the memory of those yesteryear patriots whose dedication and selfless
sacrifices brought the war against terrorism to an end. Mr Rajapaksa on
arrival at Elephant Pass was warmly welcomed by Commander of the Army,
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya and Major General Mahinda
Hathurusinghe, Commander, Security Forces, Jaffna. A bevy of traditional
Kandyan dancers accompanied him to the dais, from where the Secretary
Defence received the salute and inspected the Guard of Honour.
Mr Rajapaksa amidst rhythms of auspicious drums, tuned
by Army drummers afterwards unveiled the main plaque at the entrance to
the War Hero Memorial and declared it open formally while the Commander
of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya seconds after that
opened the plaque on the monument itself. The plaques extol numerous and
invaluable sacrifices made by War Heroes of our times and unfailing
directives given by none other than personages, like HE the President as
Commander-in-Chief, Secretary Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, et al.
Other sides of the monument have been dedicated to the Sri Lanka Navy
and Air Force.
Mr Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the main event spoke
to media personnel covering the occasion and briefed them on the
forthcoming "Victory Day", War Hero commemorative arrangements and the
importance of maintaining the status quo after elimination of the LTTE
This work of great artistic merit has been designed by
Sri Lanka's National Design Centre (NDC). Mr Sunil Fernando (Chairman-NDC),
supported by Messrs Torin Chandrasekara and G.L.N Perera has done the
meticulous architectural design of this unique masterpiece. Work of this
42 ft high monumental erection with Army resources commenced on 7th July
2009 with the support of Engineer Service Regiment.
The project on the part of the Army was spearheaded
and directed by Major General Kamal Gunarathne, Major General Chargie
Gallage, Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne, Colonel Thilak Hangilipola and
Colonel M.M Kithsiri who took an enormous interest in it until its
Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa, President Seva Vanitha, Ministry
of Defence, Mrs Manjulika Jayasuriya, President Seva Vanitha Army
Branch, Major General Kamal Guneratne (Commander, Wanni), Major General
Chandana Rajaguru (Commander, Kilinochchi), Major General Shavendra
Silva (Director General Operations), Mr W Sunil Fernando, Chairman,
National Design Centre (NDC), Designers Torrin Chandrasekara and G.C.N
Perera, Design Advisor Clitus Asanka and a number of officials and
tri-service senior officers attended the ceremony.