Sri Lanka Embassy is accepting contributions from Sri Lankan expatriates who wish to buy a vehicle for disabled

The inspiration of revived memories can be a powerful driving force. It is indeed so for Warrant Officer Class II, Upali H.A., once the Personal Security Officer to Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne, when he was Task Force I Commander responsible for the direction of military operations in Jaffna and Killinochchi districts before the landmine explosion at Araly Point in Jaffna on August 8, 1992.

During his recent tour of the US accompanying the renowned Sri Lanka Defense Forces Cultural Troupe, Warrant Officer Upali was once more compelled to relive the myriad of memories of a tragedy, the heart-breaking effects of which are a part of his daily life.

Speaking to an emotional audience following a concert in Washington DC, Warrant Officer Upali, seated in a wheel chair, surveyed his broken physical self with relative detachment. The blast on August 8, 1992, which killed Lieutenant General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne, Rear Admiral Mohan Jayamaha, and 7 other officers who were at Araly Point, planning to free the civilians of Jaffna who were under the tyrannical rule of the LTTE, had left a sole survivor, Warrant Officer Upali, who nevertheless paid a heavy price, as he lost both legs above the knee. Despite the tragedy that relegated him to the “disabled” category, Upali has no regrets. His only remorse is that he can no longer be in the front lines, fighting to save his country from LTTE terrorists. But what he cannot physically do, he uses his mental and emotional strength to instill moral courage in young soldiers leaving for the battlefield. He has become a fount of courage and inspiration to countless young men and women who freshly join the security forces. Upali can never forget the sacrifices of his superiors, especially the last moments of Lieutenant General Kobbekaduwa, who, though mortally wounded, said, “I’m all right, see what can be done to the others.”

As he spoke to the audience in Washington DC, Upali commented that where he is concerned, one of the biggest challenges now is managing to keep himself mobile.

Following the concert, Sri Lanka expatriates offered to contribute funds to help buy for Upali, a vehicle that can be operated by disabled individuals who have lost their legs.

The Sri Lanka Embassy has agreed to accept funds from Sri Lankans in the U.S. for this project and will remit the money to Colombo.

Those who wish to contribute, may send a check drawn in favor of “The Embassy of Sri Lanka,” along with a cover letter addressed to the Defence Attaché, Embassy of Sri Lanka, 2148 Wyoming Avenue N.W. Washington DC 20008. All contributions will be acknowledged with an official receipt.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

29 February 2008

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