SL Permanent Mission in New York celebrates 76th Independence Day
The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in New York celebrated the 76th anniversary of the Independence Day of Sri Lanka, led by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Ambassador Mohan Pieiris, and staff of the Mission, and joined by many Sri Lankans living in the tri-state area.
Multi-faith religious observances invoked blessings on those gathered and all Sri Lankans. Ven. Aluthgama Dhammajothi Thero, Chief incumbent of the New York Buddhist Vihara; Priest Gurukkal Sri Suresh Somasundaram of the Hindu Temple Society of North America; Reverend Father Jayashantha of the Catholic faith and Mr. Ash-Shiek Ahmed Yasir of the Islamic faith led the religious observances.
The Messages by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on the occasion of the 76th Independence Day were read out by the Permanent Representative Mohan Pieris and the Deputy Permanent Representative Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, respectively.
The Mission hosted a lively cultural event with performances by Sri Lankan youth from the tri-state area. Children in colourful traditional costumes performed dances to well-known tunes of patriotic pride, such as ‘Rathna Deep Janma Bhoomi’. A fusion of traditional drums performed by children of Sri Lankan origin was a highlight of the celebrations. The drums and dances were choreographed by Mr. Dilhan Pinnagoda of the Sri Lanka Dance Academy in New York. A special highlight of the show was a sitar performance drawing on the rich tapestry of Sinhala songs and Jana gee melodies, by Visharad Bhageshri Fonseka. The Ambassador thanked those who performed and distributed certificates to all who performed in appreciation of their contribution.
In his address to the Sri Lankans gathered, Ambassador Mohan Peiris quoted the poet Khalil Gibran, that, “life without liberty, is like a body without a spirit”. He requested Sri Lankans to embrace a freedom that is structured on the will to be responsible for themselves. He reminded us that freedom does not come easy, and never comes without labour.
The Ambassador recalled the salutary reminder by the President in his message that upon the advent of the 76th Independence Day, the country has effectively navigated through many challenges, and has steered its economy toward stability with the support of the global community. The Ambassador also observed that the President has graciously acknowledged that these achievements were realized progressively, owing to the steadfast support of the people of Sri Lanka who endured hardships in keeping with a comprehensive, long-term national rebuilding program and given the assurance that throughout this journey, challenges will gradually disappear, life’s burdens will lighten, the economy will fortify and Mother Sri Lanka will undergo a renaissance and therefore called upon the community to collectively respond to the President’s appeal as true patriots of mother Lanka so that we rise to new horizons of freedom and progress.
The festivities concluded with a spread of Sri Lanka’s traditional refreshments and sweetmeats served at the Mission.