Having gained independence from imperialist rulers, as a nation, we expected a political, socio-economic and cultural forward march, with a unique national identity free of colonial shackles. To entrust the future of the nation to minds enslaved by imperialism for more than a century, is more dangerous than being under colonial rule itself.
Hence, for future progress, we need people with spirits invigorated by national customs, values and culture. We could accomplish colossal tasks, similar to those gigantic achievements of other great civilisations of the world in the past, by being independent. We are a people who established our own national identity from the beginning. Therefore, on this auspicious occasion, I would like to emphasise that the time has come to build the economy of our country on the foundation of agriculture.
The common enemies of the progress of national revival are poverty and corruption. We must resolve to eradicate these evils completely.
All those patriots who sacrificed their lives for the sake of independence of the nation, since the colonial era, are commemorated on this occasion, with honour and dignity. All the servicemen and women dedicated to safeguard the freedom and independence of the nation today, are also remembered with gratitude.
It is my wish, on this important occasion, that all political parties, together with all of us, will be able to march forward with courage and peace towards accomplishing the ultimate goals of independence.
President of Sri Lanka
Celebrating ‘Independence’ does not necessarily mean that it has been entirely achieved to the true sense of the word. ‘Independence’ is fully realised only when all human beings in a nation achieve a state of environmental, economic, political, social and spiritual coexistence. This demands an organised programme and collective sacrifice.
While celebrating our country’s liberation from long years of foreign rule, ‘Independence Day’ is the ideal opportunity to inspire public discourse and social activism for a more broadbased ‘National Independence’ that transcends ethnic and religious biases.Since being propelled into power by the people, the ‘Yahapalana’ government has overcome countless challenges and obstacles to establish a refreshingly new social and political culture, while taking significant steps to strengthen democracy. We are savouring the positive results of these collective efforts, as this transformed society has already proven its resolve to defeat anti-democratic, extremist forces.
On our 71st National Day, I invite each and every one of you to join me in building a robust economy, stable government and a prosperous nation, so that all our citizens can enjoy the true freedom of living in a socially and politically developed society.
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
71 years ago, a group of remarkable men decided that enough was enough. Sri Lanka had all the strengths it needed to gain autonomy, govern its own jurisdiction and rule under its own mandate. We, a nation that has always had to juggle its diversity and often been at the negative end of that battle produced these men who made up a literal interpretation of our glorious flag and displayed it through their own diversity. They volleyed, they fought and above all stood together to gain independence and prevailed.
Having been a young boy when it happened and growing up watching our country’s growth, I can’t help but reflect on our journey as a people. I feel overjoyed and yet, sympathetic as I have seen our nation rally together in the darkest times and at the same time, tear itself up from within.
Independence Day is by definition, the day we achieved our independence from the British, but by spirit, it serves as a reminder that we are first and foremost, one. One nation, under one flag and we are free to allow our diversity to be the uniting factor of our people.
Today, I would like to take this opportunity to remind us all of this truth, let us unite to create a truly non dependent Sri Lanka, a country that is self sufficient and bold enough to not let external forces try to divide itself based on their vested interests, because after all Sri Lanka is a great island nation with pride, a relentless spirit and a virtuous soul.
I wish all my fellow countrymen a happy Independence Day.
Leader of the Opposition