Friday, November 13, 2009

The 1st of October 1995 was quite a busy day at the General Sir John Kothelawala Defence Academy (today elevated to Kothelawala Defence University - KDU) despite the fact that it was a Sunday. It was none other than any reason that a new batch - the Intake XIII of Officer Cadets including the first ever 04 Lady Service Cadets of the KDU history - was being enlisted. The dream of the youth hood, becoming Officers of the Armed Forces, was what filled the hearts and minds of those young ladies and gentlemen. The cherished dream of their youth gave them an immeasurable joy, ardent enough to overcome the nagging sorrows of parting with their beloved family members and friends.

Despite all the hardships of military training, the feeling of being trained under one shelter and one flag as Officer Under Trainees of the Tri Services in accordance with the noble motto of the General Sir John Kothelawala AcademyFor The Motherland Forever”, kept us together with a strong sense of esprit de corps'.

We all learnt to share the joy and sorrow alike among ourselves. Without an iota of doubt, by drilling ourselves into such an attitude, we have been able to perform exceptionally well as a batch and as individually as well in whatever the situation we have been in for the past 14years and we continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

We all cherish the memories of such irretrievable time of our life as trainee Officers of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. We chose the Profession of Arms at a time when most of our contemporaries started fleeing abroad for the fear of their lives under the pretext of continuation of higher studies. But we were all aware of the fact that in the end we all had to die. Yet, dignity and freedom had no price.

Though we now belong to the Army, Navy and Air Force, we started learning the 'Alphabet' of the Profession of Arms under one shelter and one common flag, where we were all moulded into Officers who vowed to serve the motherland with dignity and honor. We were of the stand that loosing an eye, a leg, a hand or even life can never be matched with loosing an inch from this precious land.

Today (15th) as we, the 13th Intake of KDU, prepare to celebrate the 'annual get together' to mark the passing of the 14th mile post in our 'Long March', we feel that it is incumbent on us to look back and ponder a while as how we have forced so far throughout our tour of Duty, especially since we departed from KDA. So far 10 of our comrades have paid the supreme sacrifice in the name of territorial integrity, sovereignty of the motherland and the freedom and dignity of the citizens of Sri Lanka.

We do hope that those valiant Sons of Mother Lanka will be happy about their sacrifices by seeing the end of the savagery and barbarism of the LTTE and moreover, by seeing the rays of hope, which had been awaited long,  emerging over the horizons of this Emerald Island - Sri Lanka. On top of our Roll of Honor is Capt. AKPS Kumara - VIR who fell prey to a booby trap laid by the enemy at Paranthan. Then it was Capt MG Weeratunga - SLE, Capt TR Saino - GW, Capt AM Kuruppu – CR, Capt TAUK Mudalithennehelage  - CR, Capt - VGS Siriwardana - SLLI, Capt KAC Karunarathne - VIR, LCdr MDDL Ranjan - SLN, Capt CS Wijewicrama - SR and LCdr ONMR Panditharathna – SLN - who died in an enemy suicide attack during a confrontation to  become the last of the martyrs of our batch.

As we go to the war struck areas where the guns are silent now, and watch the waves lapping at the shore and set eyes yonder towards the horizons and the terrain inland with Palmyra trees stabbing the skyline, we try to imagine what it must have been like for those young men, for the past few years, to have fought battles out at sea, and  charge out across the enemy defences amidst an array of mines and booby traps mixed together with all kind of enemy atrocities, and to give up their chance to grow old and instead make the ultimate sacrifice. You served our nation with courage and an unmatched commitment to the country.

We pay our utmost tribute to those fallen heroes of the Intake 13 KDU for sacrificing their precious lives for their motherland especially at the prime of their youth, which each one of us enjoys today. Death is inevitable, we all will have to go when our time comes, but those who have died for their motherland will live on in our hearts and minds forever.

The memories of our good times together still bring tears to our eyes more than our eyes can hold. The laughter and merriment we shared together will dwell long in our ears. The nation is forever indebted to our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for our country. They are among the best of our country and a shining example to all in our nation. It’s an honor to say that we are your batch mates. There is no group of people that we hold in higher regard than our fallen heroes. Because of you we live in the greatest, freest, proudest country in the world.

Even though you are not among the living today, and no statues of you have been erected yet, the memories of the noble deeds you have done for us, for the country and its people to live freely, will surely be cherished deeply in the hearts and minds of the grateful people of Sri Lanka.

The flag that draped over your casket during your last journey is the same flag that you fought, bled, and died for. We feel you in every breath we take and in every flower we smell and touch.

Remembrance is a golden chain
Death tries to break, but all in vain.
To have, to love, and then to part
Is the greatest sorrow of one's heart.
The years may wipe out many things
But some they wipe out never.
Like memories of those happy times
When we were all together.

Sadly missed and fondly remembered by the Officers of the Intake XIII KDU. 

1 comment:

  1. Special thanks for
    LCdr Sanjeewa Kathriarachchi
    MCNS-Sri Lanka