Sri Lanka's 65th Year Of Independence Celebrated In Washington
DC Highlighting Post Conflict Developments & Sharing The Correct
Story Of Sri Lanka
"Sri Lanka is a
peaceful and reconciled society which is governed by democracy"
Sri Lanka is a nation that strives for the
protection of human rights and the rule of law. - US Congressman
U S Congressman Eni Faleomavaega recalls the
terrible soul searching America went through losing 600,000 lives
during the civil war
Washington, February 11, 2013: The Embassy of Sri
Lanka Washington DC celebrated the 65thAnniversary of the
Independence of Sri Lanka with a spectacular cultural evening at the
University of the District of Columbia on Saturday, February 9.
Approximately one thousand Sri Lankan - American community members
and distinguished invitees including United States Congressmen ,
senior government officials and Washington based Ambassadors
witnessed the biggest Sri Lankan cultural event held outside of Sri
Co-chair of the Congressional Sri Lanka Caucus
Congressman Hon. Robert Aderholt, Ranking Member of the House
Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on Asia and the Pacific Congressman
Hon. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Dr. Alyssa Ayres and visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Environment and
Renewable Energy Hon. Susil Premajayanth delivered remarks.
Minister of Public Management Reforms Hon. Navin
Dissanayake, former US envoy to Sri Lanka Ambassador Patricia
Butenis, Indian Ambassador to US Her Excellency Mrs. Nirupama Rao
and senior diplomats in Washington were also in attendance .
Dr. Alyssa Ayres, the Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for South and Central Asian Affairs read the message of US
President His Excellency Barack Obama for Sri Lanka's Independence
Day. Dr . Ayers also spoke about her pleasant experience in Sri
Lanka recently and expressed the aspiration of the United States to
be a partner with Sri Lanka's post-conflict progress.
Hon. Robert Aderholt, addressing the audience said
that he truly values the opportunity he has to help US- Sri Lanka
relations as the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus.
"It is our collective responsibility to share the
real of story of Sri Lanka , a country we all know of love and peace
and certainly a nation that is governed by democracy, also, a nation
that strives for the protection of Human rights and the rule of
law.", he opined .
Congressman Aderholt commending Sri Lanka's post
conflict -achievements said that the continued implementation of
Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations,
successful resettlement and redevelopment activities and
rehabilitation and reintegration of former combatants are the true
testament for Sri Lanka's commitment to a brighter future .
Congressman Hon. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega in his
address recalled the painful past of the US before becoming the free
and prosperous nation it is today.
"I recall that we went through a terrible soul
searching situation even in this country. Well over 600,000 soldiers
lost their lives, in that terrible conflict, we know as the civil
war from 1860 to 1865. And there was a question whether or not
slavery would be continued as an institution in this country. And,
of course, thanks to President Abraham Lincoln the country continues
to be what it is today.", he said.
He also opined that the beauty of American
Democracy is the efforts made by the nation to correct its mistakes.
"I sincerely hope that the efforts will continue
to take place in terms of reconciliation , to see that the good
people of Sri Lanka will find peace and unity , and prosperity to
years to come .", he added,
Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy of
Sri Lanka Hon. Susil Premjayanth, said that Sri Lanka is now on the
right path with strong focus on development under the leadership of
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa .
Minister Premjayanth also requested Sri Lanka
community and US government representatives to support Sri Lanka's
journey towards brighter future after 30 years of conflict.
His Excellency Mr. Jaliya Wickramasuriya , the
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States delivered the keynote
"There is no more conflict. There is no more
suffering. There is no loss of life due to terrorism. Sri Lanka
today is a country at peace. This is the reality about Sri Lanka
today", Ambassador Wickramasuriya said.
"This is what we must show the world - the image
of Sri Lanka as a peaceful and reconciled society which is governed
by democracy, the observance of human rights and rule of law", he
Ambassador Wickramasuriya also highlighted the
vital role that Sri Lankans living in US and other countries have to
play in Sri Lanka's growth and development.
"As Sri Lankan Americans, please continue to play
your vital role in Sri Lanka's growth and development. Whether you
can offer your service to help with humanitarian work, offer your
investment, offer support to help Sri Lankans regain their
livelihoods, or even offer your voice to spread the correct story of
Sri Lanka", he said.
"It is our duty to offer support to our Sri Lankan
brothers and sisters who are finally safe and at peace, have so many
new opportunities, and are looking forward", he added.
The Independence Day message of His Excellency
Mahinda Rajapaksa , the President of Sri Lanka was read by the
Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Esala Weerakoon.
The events of the celebration commenced with the
Ambassador hoisting the National flag and a choir comprising one
hundred Sri Lankan American children singing the National Anthem.
Mrs.Anjalika Silva, a Washington area Sri Lankan soprano, sang the
U.S. National Anthem
The audience observed one-minute silence in honor
of the fallen war heroes. A group US-Sri Lankan teenagers, performed
Jayamanagla Gatha and lighting of traditional oil lamp was performed
in keeping with the age old Sri Lankan traditions.
Chief Incumbent of Washington Buddhist Vihara
Venerable Maharagama Dhammasiri Nayake Thero , and Chief Incumbent
of Maryland Buddhist Vihara, Venerable Katugastota Uparatana Nayake
Thero conducted Buddhist religious observances. Swami Sivanatha
Kurukkal ,Mr. Naseer Azeez and Dr.Greg Fernandopulle invoked
blessings according to Hindu , Islam and Christian traditions
The two hour cultural spectacular featured
internationally renowned dance troupe, Visha School of Dance from
Sri Lanka directed by the eminent dance teacher and choreographer
Visha De Silva . The performances also showcased the professional
and budding Sri Lankan talent from the greater Washington area.
Sri Lankan professional choreographers and dance
teachers in US ; Asanga Domask, Chathuri Wickramarachchi and Nisha
Niroshini displayed the best of Sri Lankan culture with their
performances and of their students . Ms. Sandali Chandradasa,
another Sri Lankan American dance artiste performed the
Bharatanatyam. Guest Sri Lankan musician S.W. Sampath rendered the
patriotic Sri Lankan classic "Sasara Wasana Thuru" of maestro W.D.
Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Esala
Weerakoon proposed the vote of thanks before the conclusion of the
event with a grand finale.
Courtesy: Washington D.C.