Gun Battle Memories at Elephant Pass Immortalized
[Updated :: 2010-05-01 19:28:03
‘‘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 terrorism.
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.C.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
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 completion.
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.