- Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012 10:00
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President Mahinda Rajapaksa awarded the Presidential Colours to the Sri Lanka Army's Gemunu Watch on Wednesday (15th August).
Secretary to the President Lalith Weerathunga and Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa were also present at the occasion.
The President awarded the Presidential and Regimental Colours to First, Second (Volunteer) and Third (Volunteer) Battalions of the Gemunu Watch at a ceremony held at the Regimental Headquarters of Gemunu Watch in Kuruwita Wednesday morning.
The 1st, 2nd ,and 3rd Battalions of Gemunu Watch initially received its colours on 15th August 1980. The re-awarding of Colours is a singular honour for 50 years of selfless, loyal and honourable service to the nation by the Gemunu Watch which will reinforce the pride, esprit d' corps and sense of duty of all 17,424 all ranks of 23 battalions of the Gemunu Watch.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Army personnel of the Gemunu Watch that although terrorism has been defeated they cannot afford to relax.
“In the same way a proposal was made in Vaddukoddai for separation 40 years ago, another conference was held the other day to give life to the Eelam project,” he said. The President was addressing Army personnel of the Gemunu Watch at the Gemunu Watch Regimental Centre, Kuruwita at the Colours Awarding ceremony.
“We must understand this threat.
"The aim of the Eelamists is to break the unity and trust among us and reduce the feeling for the country and make us criticise the motherland," President Rajapaksa said. The President said a leader of a political party who attended this pro-Eelam conference had similarly criticised the country. "However the same people who tried to set up Eelam here intervened to stop his speech," the President said.
The President said that this distinguished honour is awarded to the Gemunu Watch in recognition of its steadfast and heroic service and valued contribution towards the safeguarding of the interests of the nation and that they must make a pledge to preserve and uphold the honour thus bestowed.
Accordingly a pledge was made by Major General S Udumalagala The President was accorded a guard of honour upon his arrival at the venue in keeping with set traditions and customs. The President took the salute of the parade which consisted of 47 officers and 379 men drawn from the 15 Regular and eight Volunteer Battalions of the Gemunu Watch.
A large number of distinguished guests including Ministers, Members of Parliament, Commander of the Army and senior military officers were present at the occasion.