Media Release 

64th Independence Day Celebrated by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN and the Community in New York! 

The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations celebrated Sri Lanka’s 64th anniversary of Independence in Staten Island, New York along with the Sri Lankans in the Tri-State area. Over 850 Sri Lankan expatriates and friends attended the event.  The attendees were treated to a memorable evening by the distinguished musical maestro, Prof. Sanath Nandasiri and his wife Malkanthi Nandasiri. In addition, music and dance performances were provided by the Sri Lankan communities in New York, the state of New Jersey and Connecticut.

The Permanent Representative Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona was assisted by Ambassador Major General Shavendra Silva, the Deputy Permanent Representative in hoisting of the national flag. The national anthem was sung by the gathering, which was followed by the “jayamangala gatha”. His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Independence Day address was broadcasted following the traditional observances.

Addressing the gathering Dr. Palitha Kohona, stated that “Those Sri Lankans who live overseas have a seminal contribution to make as the nation forges ahead.  We will be judged by the world not for highlighting our differences but for emphasizing our unity. Internationally we must stand united as we build bridges and foster understanding.Furthermore, The United States has contributed much to Sri Lanka’s development since independence and all of us must work at strengthening the people to people bonds between our states further.  As Sri Lankans we must stand together and face the world as a united nation”

Following blessings by the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islamic religious dignitaries, the cultural event which lasted over 90 minutes began with a traditional “kothuvam dance”. The other items in the cultural repertoire included dances and songs in Sinhala, and English. Professor Sanath Nadasiri and Malkanthi Nandasiri brought nostalgic comfort to the Sri Lankan audience living in New York by singing such classics as “Magè Ratata” and “Bo maluwe”. It was a truly rewarding evening of celebrations.

 

His Excellency the President’s Address 

Our nation is fortunate to celebrate the 64th Independence Day with a genuine sense of dignity about freedom.

Today the national flag flutters pointing to a new country in the making. The way is open for an independent economy. It daily reinforces the nation’s aspirations for a prosperous future. It has given us freedom to decide upon issues concerning the country and the nation without bowing down before external powers. I strongly believe that is the immense responsibility that the nation entrusted to us. It is a great pleasure to see the steady consolidation of supreme independence.

The country’s achievements would be secured when opportunities for peace, co-existence as well as harmonious living are winded. Sacrifices made so far to reach that objective have to be secured in future too. We would no longer hesitate to take decisions towards fostering national unity through an indigenous programme of action. We overcame diverse challenges the country faced with extreme patience. We have built   productive economic, political, defence, trade and cultural links with the international community through friendly contacts. We must preserve all this by working more rationally, intelligently and patriotically than even before.

Similarly the country should be brought forward developing its value systems. It is only then that a prosperous life would emerge in a peaceful environment.

The nation’s respect and felicitations should go to all patriots who paid the supreme sacrifice, laying down their lives to overcome the nation’s challenges for the sake of supreme Independence.

I wish you a bright future! 

Mahinda Rajapakse

http://www.rupavahini.lk/ondemand/64ind_day.html

 

Statement by His Excellency Dr. Palitha Kohona 

“The Government will continue proactively to put in place mechanisms to engender an environment of dignity and equality to all Sri Lankans and move the country forward economically, socially and politically, providing all our citizens equal opportunities to achieve their highest aspirations and their individual dreams.   Many major development projects have been either completed or put in train. The North and the East, long ravaged by conflict, are reaping the benefits of Government and private sector investments.  The private sector will be the major player in our rejuvenated and rapidly expanding economy.” 

Most Venerable Members of the Maha Sanga, other religious dignitaries,

Ladies  & Gentlemen,

Friends,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 64th National Day Celebration of Sri Lanka in New York hosted this year by the Sri Lankan community of Staten Island.   Sri Lanka, under the leadership of His Excellency, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is rapidly moving forward to a new era of prosperity and stability. The economy is expanding at an unprecedented rate and the underlying indicators are very positive.  Sri Lankans now have an unparalleled opportunity to leave behind the uncertainties, the lack of confidence and the bitterness of yesterday and move towards a new era of promise – an era of certainty and continuity, as we reach out to all our friends.   The expatriate community also owes it to those whom it left behind in the homeland, as we sought greener pastures elsewhere, to lend a helping hand and, in particular to the families of  those thousands who sacrificed their lives and gave up their today so that we could have our tomorrow. 

The Government will continue proactively to put in place mechanisms to ensure an environment of dignity and equality to all Sri Lankans and move the country forward economically, socially and politically, providing all our citizens equal opportunities to achieve their highest aspirations and their individual dreams.   Many major development projects have been either completed or put in train. The North and the East, long ravaged by conflict, are reaping the benefits of Government and private sector investments.  The private sector will be the major player in our rejuvenated and rapidly expanding economy.  The emerging opportunities are limitless, whether in the hospitality industry, in agriculture, in fisheries, in high tech or manufacturing.   I invite those of you, who are in a position to do so, to explore these opportunities for the benefit of Sri Lanka, as well as your own selves.  

I also take this opportunity to congratulate members of the Sri Lankan community who are contributing vitally to the host country.  We must continue to build bridges with our host country, be part of their social, economic and cultural milieu and actively contribute to this society.  

I wish you a wonderful day!


 

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