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Historic Gun Battle Memories at Elephant Pass Immortalized 
[Updated :: 2010-05-01 19:28:03 Hours]

‘‘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 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 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.


(Courtesy army.lk)

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