The 76th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence was commemorated at two separate events under the patronage of Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States, Mahinda Samarasinghe on 04 February.
The first event was held at the Embassy premises in the morning and included the hoisting of the National Flag, the singing of the National Anthem in Sinhala and Tamil languages, the observance of two minute’s silence to those who sacrificed their lives for the motherland, the lighting of the traditional oil lamp and the conduct of Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian rites.
The invitees included the members of the Sri Lankan community, and the event was graced by the special guest Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department Scott Urbom who represented the Government of the United States.
Later that evening a cultural event was held at the John F. Kennedy High School Auditorium organized by six Sri Lankan community organizations – Sri Lanka Ranga Kala Kavaya, Bethesda Api, American Sri Lanka Friendship Association (Ape Kattiya), Sri Lanka Association of Washington DC, Kala Lanka Foundation, and the Hospital Services Council of Greater Washington – in coordination with the Embassy of Sri Lanka. A large gathering attended the event.
Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe who addressed the gathering, recalled the recent economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka including the difficulty in sourcing essential items, the lack of fertilizer, difficulties faced by banks when opening letters of credit for imports of essential commodities due to scarcity of foreign reserves amidst which widespread protests took place.
The Ambassador asked for the cooperation and assistance of the Sri Lankan community, He said he believed that persons of Sri Lankan heritage who have distinguished themselves in one of the most advanced counties in the world would always remember their country of origin.
Sri Lankans who have contributed so much to the US economy have won the appreciation of many.
Sri Lanka’s economy as well as other aspects of its current fortunes have reached a critical point of transition.
Therefore, we need the goodwill, understanding and assistance of all Sri Lankans to overcome these multitudes of challenges, he said.
Ambassador Samarasinghe said that he hoped that this event organized collectively by the six associations would be the first of many such celebrations in the coming years.
If Sri Lankans come together in unity, there is no limit to what can be achieved, he concluded.