30th December 2018 19:03:04 Hours
Island-wide Security Force Headquarters (SFHQs), Divisions, Brigades, Training Schools, Forward Maintenance Area Headquarters and formations of the Army in the past few days contributed their share to the seasonal Christmas spirits by way of staging Carols, Distribution of essentials, Supply of medical needs and school accessories, etc with the objective of further cementing prevailing bonds of religious amity, harmony and reconciliation.
In Jaffna, Army troops of the 522 and 523 Brigades under the 52 Division of the Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J) assisted the conduct of Christmas festivities in the Church of South India in Jaffna on Sunday (23). 12 Battalion Gemunu Watch, along with the 4 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment troops staged Carols, dramas and dancing features in co-operation with 142 children, belonging to 11 Churches. The music for the events was provided by the Army Band and different Army Calypso teams. 5 deserving families were given dry ration packets during the proceedings with the patronage of the Army.
A total of 36 Fathers and Priests of 11 churches in the peninsula also witnessed the day's celebrations, coordinated by Rev. Father Jeyanisam of the Church of South India in Jaffna and Rev. Father Moorthi of the Baptist Church. Clergymen of different faiths, Army Personnel, state officials, private company officials and a large number of civilians attended the occasion. Earlier, Jaffna Commander, Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi visited the disabled in the area and donated a stock of wheelchairs on account of Christmas.
Meanwhile, Security Force Headquarters - Mullaittivu (SFHQ-MLT) adding the notion of sharing and caring awarded gift parcels and food varieties to the resident kids at Iniya ValvuIllam (Home for Happy Living) on Christmas day (25) under the guidance given by the Commander, Security Forces - Mullaittivu, Major General Dushyantha Rajaguru. 27 kids with hearing and vision impairments were entertained to music, recital of songs and the arrival of Santa Claus with a bagful of toys to those young ones. Brigadier Keerthi Costa, Brigadier General Staff, SF-MLT, representing the Mullaittivu Commander Security Forces took part in those projects. Likewise, troops on Christmas day distributed a consignment of lunch packets among Koppavil villagers adding a new feature to the festivities.
In the meantime, 64 Division Headquarters of SFHQ-MLT at Oddusudan put up a Christmas zone with a Christmas tree, Crib and associated decorations under the supervision of Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera, General Officer Commanding, 64 Division who allowed troops to showcase their creative skills. Similarly, 641 Brigade troops under the 64 Division awarded school accessories, lunch and gifts to 17 kids and 6 staff, employed in the Anpu Home for Kids in Oddusudan on account of the season.
Meanwhile, depicting the religions harmony and reconciliation among all communities in the Wanni region, 613 Brigade troops of the 61 Division of the Security Force Headquarters - Wanni (SFHQ-W) decorated the entrance passage to the Church of Our Lady Madu in Madu Road with an illuminated Christmas tree. Brigadier K.D.C.G.J Thilakarathne, General Officer Commanding, 61 Division directed 24 Gajaba Regiment troops serving the 613 Brigade to prepare the Christmas Tree and other decorations. Separate Christmas arrangements were also in place in Vavuniya town area on the directions of Major General Kumudu Perera, Commander, Security Forces-Wanni.
Elsewhere in the central hills, troops of the Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-Cen) celebrated Christmas together with all branches and sectors in the headquarters on the directions of the Commander, Security Forces-Central, Major General Ruwan De Silva with the participation of Brigadier General Staff and All Ranks on Tuesday (25).
Meanwhile, 22 Division Headquarters of the SFHQ-East and Catholic community in Trincomalee jointly organized a Christmas Carol programme at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Trincomalee on Tuesday (25) with the participation of all ethnic groups living in the Trincomalee town area. The programme was organized under the guidance of the General Officer Commanding, 22 Division, Major General Nevil Weerasingha. Brigadier Upali Gunasekara, Commander, 221 Brigade supervised the arrangement. Rt Rev Dr. Noel Emmanuel, Bishop of Trincomalee graced the grand event as the Chief Guest.
School students in the region presented Carols in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages as a symbol of peace and harmony. The event, witnessed by a large crowd glittered with a colourful display of fireworks as dusk fell. All the Brigades under command to the 22 Division contributed to the event by providing refreshments to all participants.
Furthermore, a Christmas zone, comprised of a Christmas tree, Christmas cribs and other arrangements was erected in the Trincomalee town and it was ceremonially opened by Rt Rev Dr. Noel Emmanuel, Bishop of Trincomalee on the Christmas Day. A specially dressed Santa Claus distributed Christmas gifts among children participating festivities. Trincomalee Police Division adding a feature to the arrangements enabled Christmas Carols floats to tour the area.