An Inspiring Tale of Sacrifice, Resilience, and Compassion within Anchorage, the Home for Two Brave Sailors
by Ravindra C Wijegunaratne
In commemoration of Ranaviru month, a time dedicated to honouring the sacrifices made by military and police personnel for the country, we turn our attention to a remarkable story of resilience and compassion. Today, we shine a light on “Anchorage,” a permanent home for two critically wounded sailors located at Walisara, Sri Lanka. This facility serves as a sanctuary for naval personnel who have sustained severe disabilities in the line of duty.
Anchorage, an exquisite eco-friendly building constructed by the Navy Civil Engineers, stands proudly adjacent to the Aqua Golf Driving Range, providing a scenic view of the lake. It was made possible through generous funding by the SLN Seva Wanitha Unit and was officially inaugurated by the then Navy Commander, Admiral Piyal De Silva, on July 1, 2020.
|Basnayaka and Piyasingha : Long live our War Heroes. [ Photo: Sri Lanka Guardian]|
This sanctuary is now home to two sailors who were wounded in separate incidents while bravely serving their nation. Leading Seaman (SBS) B M R K Basnayaka, a member of the elite Special Boats Squadron, suffered critical injuries on November 10, 1995, during an operation off Illankanthai, Trincomalee. Petty Officer M D N W Piyasingha of the Fast Attack Craft Squadron, also critically wounded, endured his injuries on September 16, 2001, off Point Padró, Jaffna. Both sailors, due to spinal injuries, have lost mobility below the waist and require assistance in their daily activities.
Tragically, as these sailors fought to defend their country, they also had to face the loss of their parents. Being bachelors and with their siblings’ children growing up and venturing into their own lives, the sailors found it increasingly challenging to manage on their own. Recognizing their plight, the Sri Lanka Navy took the noble initiative of constructing Anchorage, a safe haven where these war heroes could receive the care and support they deserve until their last days. The Navy’s dedication and compassion deserve applause.
The devoted staff at Anchorage ensures that both WIA sailors receive daily exercises, physiotherapy sessions, necessary medical care, and assistance with daily routines. They also arrange short trips for them in a specially designed van, allowing them to visit their relatives on a monthly basis. Additionally, the sailors are provided with proper nutrition and remuneration, but it is the appreciation and support from the community that truly motivates them to live fulfilling life.
As we observe Ranaviru month, let us remember and honour the sacrifices made by our military and police personnel. Anchorage stands as a testament to the enduring gratitude we owe to those who have selflessly served our nation, ensuring the peace and security we enjoy today.
Admiral Ravindra C Wijegunaratne who retired from the Sri Lanka Navy after serving as the Chief of Defence Staff, is Managing Director of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Chairman of Trincomalee Petroleum Terminals Ltd.