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Sunday, 1 February 2015

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67th Independence Day

Independence Day in Sri Lanka is annually celebrated on February 4. We got the Independence from the British rule on February 4, 1948. We commemorate its internal political Independence from British rule on that day in 1948. The day is a national holiday in Sri Lanka.

It is celebrated all over the country through flag-hoisting ceremonies, dances, parades and cultural performances. The main celebration takes place in Colombo where the President raises the national flag and delivers a nationally televised speech.

Many national struggles were made in the history of Sri Lanka. And on the independence day all of these are remembered and celebrated.But the independence movement against the British is especially recalled.

In the President's speech, he highlights the achievements of the government during the past year, raises important issues and gives acall for further development. The President also pays tribute to the national heroes of Sri Lanka, observes two minutes of silence in their memory, challenges and vows to eradicate separatism.

A great military parade is also made. In recent years it showcased the power of the army, navy, air force, police and the civil defence force. And the commitment, bravery, national unity and determination to achieve peace is recollected in the minds of people.

There are also dances, singing and performances that showcase national unity and culture. Religious observances are also made in many places of worship around the country wishing for peace and prosperity to the country, people and the tri-forces. The national media also try to promote ideas such as bravery, confidence,dedication, national unity, patriotism, nationalism, peace, national responsibility and awareness of national history in the minds of people.

D.S. Senanayake became the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after we got the independence from the British in 1948. He emerged as the leader of the Sri Lankan independence movement that lead to the establishment of self-rule in Sri Lanka. The legal head of State was Queen Elizabeth's governor at that time.

The first President of Sri Lanka was William Gopallawa in 1972. This replaced the Governor's role. Until 1972, Ceylon was a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and Queen of Ceylon. He was well known as an austere, nonpartisan and statesmanlike figure who commanded the respect of all political parties.

The first executive president was Junius Richard Jayewardene in1977. He was the leader of Sri Lanka from 1977 to 1989. He was a leader of the nationalist movement in Sri Lanka who served in a variety of Cabinet positions in the decades following independence. Along time member of the United National Party, he led it to a crushing victory in 1977 and served as Prime Minister for half a year before becoming the country's first executive President under an amended constitution.

The civil war began in Sri Lanka in 1983 between the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the government. From 1985 to 2006, Sri Lankan government and Tamil insurgents held four rounds of peace talks without success. Both LTTE and the government resumed fighting in 2006 and the government officially backed out of the ceasefire in 2008.

In 2009, under the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the LTTE and re-established control of the entire country by the Sri Lankan Government. Overall, between 60,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the 26 years of conflict.

In May 2010, President Rajapaksa appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to assess the conflict between the time of the ceasefire agreement in 2002 and the defeat of the LTTE in 2009. Sri Lanka has emerged from its 26-year war to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

The incumbent President of Sri Lanka is Maithripala Sirisena who was elected as the President last month. He was born on September 3, 1951 in Yagoda, a village in the Gampaha District.He is a farmer and agriculturist and does not belong to any of the Sri Lankan political elite.

He was sworn in as the sixth Executive President before Supreme Court judge K. Sripavan at the Independence Square, Colombo on January 9, 2015. Immediately afterwards he appointed Ranil Wickremasinghe as the new Prime Minister.

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