Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Honouring war heroes - daily news editorial

Yesterday the Government held a special event to honour and reward the mothers of the country's war heroes who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the defence of the Motherland.

This was the was second stage of the Virumawa Surakimu (Let us Protect Mothers of War Heroes) programme organised by the Prime Minister's Office held at the John De silva Memorial Hall under the patronage of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka.

The event was to raise funds to set up mothers of the departed war heros without an adequate income in profitable self-employment ventures. In the first stage of the programme worked out last year over Rs.1.2 million were distributed among 104 mothers.

Yesterday a further 200 such mothers were made beneficiaries to a monthly allowance of Rs.1,000 each.

In addition to this various other programmes too have commenced to help soldier families rendered destitute and also to assist the families of serving soldiers by way of housing and educational facilities for their off spring.

No amount of such largesse can compensate for the sacrifice made by our valiant men but for whose heroic deeds the country is being spared from dismemberment. It is incumbent that they remain in the collective mind of the nation at all times lest their noble mission be obliterated by other diversions in a brazenly consumerist society.

Material support alone would not suffice to repay the sacrifice of these heros and every effort should be made by all countrymen to lend them the necessary morale support that would help redouble their efforts in redeeming the country from the scourge of terrorism.

We say this because there is today a tendency to pay mere lip service in recognising the deeds of our valiant men and women among sections of our people and relegate their sacrifices into the limbo of forgotten things.

What their role means in a larger context to the country is most often overlooked by those living in cities and towns who sometimes carry on impervious to the hardships and sacrifices of our soldiers. What is important is to empathise with their gruelling ordeal in hostile terrain battling the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world in trying conditions and provide them with the necessary morale uplift that would infuse them with extra energy to confront the enemy on the battlefront.

This has to be done by not merely financially contributing to the projects initiated on behalf of the welfare of our soldiers which would clear the conscience of some but also by conducting ourselves circumspectly. At times we tend to forget that soldiers are losing life and limb while we get about our business in our own merry way with nary a thought for the blood sacrifices of our valiant men.

Come a foreign cricket team the eyes of the whole nation is glued to TV sets lapping up the action while far away in the Wanni our men are engaging a ruthless enemy. This is not in any way to suggest that we should stop our normal activities and wear bleak expressions in deference to the sacrifices made by our soldiers.

What we have to ensure is to adopt a sense of proportion in all our acts and conduct. We can in our own small way contribute our mite to show our soldiers that we care. One recalls during resumption of hostilities immediately after the LTTE broke a truce some years ago how the entire nation rallied round our servicemen. There was a flood of goods and relief going into the Northern theatre of battle collected from humble souls in a spontaneous gesture. It is important that we cultivate a similar spirit now that the battles have reached a decisive phase.

It is certainly not too much to ask for such a sacrifice. The Government on its part should endeavour to rally more support towards our fighting men. A constant appeal should be made for support in cash and kind to assist in the welfare of our Forces.

It is heartening to note that a large number of donors have stepped into assist in this noble endeavour supplementing the programmes of the State. Perhaps the widest publicity calling for public assistance to help in the soldier welfare projects have been launched by this Government.

It is gratifying to see all state Banks carrying appeals strung up in their premises calling for public assistance for the massive housing complex being built for the members of the Security Forces in Anuradhapura.

There should be similar mobilisation appealing for other support measures that would keep our soldiers in the proper frame of mind to wage

battle secure in the knowledge that they have the full backing of their countrymen.

Courtesy: Daily News

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