President Rajapaksa has said that they will not sell the hard fought victory achieved by the Security Forces. The President was addressing the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Sri Lanka Air Force.
The prestigious celebrations marking the 60th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Air Force commenced at the Air Force base in Ratmalana this morning under the patronage of President Rajapaksa, the Commander in Chief.
On arrival for the function, the President was warmly greeted by the new Air Force Commander Air Marshall Harsha Abeywickrema. Thereafter a Guard of Honour was accorded for the President.
An air and parachute display added colour to celebrations. The President declared open the Exhibition organized to mark the Air Force Anniversary.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the Sri Lanka Air Force was vested with a significant task. The Air Force was already a stakeholder in the effort to uplift the country. They are engaged in rebuilding and developing areas that were destroyed in the North. He also referred to the vital contribution made by the Air Force to the Government’s programme of developing the economy and the tourism industry.
Speaking further the President referred to the mammoth service discharged by the Air Force carrying out successful and marvelous operations against the vanquished terrorists who were involved in the world’s ruthless operation. Coordinating with the Armed Forces the Air force played a significant role in routing the terrorists, discharging an immense service in the past 60 years. Those who say that no mention should be made today on the victory achieved are the same people who spoke against the operations. It is not a secret that they are still spreading baseless information in the world. The Government is not prepared to sell the humanitarian operation. He proudly declared that the people of the country would not permit to delete this victory from the history books or erase it from their hearts
The President expressed his condolence on behalf of the air pilot who was killed in yesterday’s Kfir fighter aircraft mishap. Many heroes of the Air Force in its 60-year history had made supreme sacrifices on behalf of the motherland. They should be remembered today. Referring to the Kfir mishap yesterday, the President expressed his condolences to the family members of the pilot killed in the incident. He emphasized that they highly value human lives than iron pieces.
First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Parliamentarians, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Chiefs of the Armed Forces, the IGP, foreign diplomats and a large distinguished gathering were present.
In the meantime a commemorative stamp and a first day cover issued to mark the celebrations were presented to the President. A new two rupee coin was also issued. It was also handed over to the President. Minister Jeevan Kumaratunge, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral joined in this occasion.
Meanwhile, theAir Force Exhibition and Carnival opened for the public at 2.00 p.m. today. It is open to the public daily from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m.. The public can view aircraft, vehicles, and weaponry that had never been displayed before at the exhibition. Also on display will be vintage aircraft and weaponry restored to working order. The public will also get the opportunity of viewing combat maneuvers and aerobatic displays.