Most times when old boys gather the conversation turns to the 'Good old days' when they were at Trinity. One wonders why they are always referred to as 'Good old Days'. During our time at Trinity we were bothered by many things like having to go to school, having to do homework, getting caned, reports and 'on report’---a term not of distinction but of discipline. We also had to face the endless trauma of growing up - learning how to shave, how to specialize in the crafty art of not getting thrown out of the school. That most of us did specialize in this adds flavour to the "Good Old Days".
Our school figures largely when we recall those 'best times'. Its great buildings, our devoted teachers, the other staff, the rich Trinity traditions for games and fun etc. There is something particularly pleasurable and enduring about Trinity. Call it class, elitism or whatever. Something gets imprinted in all of us. It is called the spirit of Trinity. This spirit we all take away when we leave the portals of this great institution. This is the spirit that binds all Trinitians whatever age or era they may be from. And it is that spirit that has also brought us together here today.
A large part of our pride in Trinity revolves around our class mates, team mates, teachers, companions, seniors and those who have gone before. Today's service of thanksgiving to Trinity's old boys is a fitting tribute to those of our brothers who have taken permanent leave of us but who still remain with us in spirit. It is fitting therefore that we meet to reminisce, to honour and thank the good Lord for the gift He bestowed us through the lives and times of the colleagues we honour and memorialize today. This is, to my mind, a very worthy tradition,
For years on end those of us who have attended the services at this august chapel will recall Barnabas Alexander. Alex would have been playing the organ today had not God decided to take him under his direct care. Alex, who was blind endeared himself to all of us and would in an instant recognize our voices as we spoke to him…even after a break of some years. May the Good Lord shower his blessings on Alex for the yeoman service he gave to the Choir and to make this Chapel resonate with the beauty of his piano renditions, which made our hymns even more meaningful to all of us.
May the Good Lord also shower his blessings on those old Trinitians who departed from us during the course of the year.
Bobby Kumarasinghe and his brother Bernard, J.S.R.K.P.H. Liyanage, Gilbert Paranagama, Dr. Mervyn Weerasinghe, Nihal Halangoda, Malsiri Kurukulasuriya, Nihal Aranwela, Alex Dedigama, L. Angammana, S.T.R. Ratnayake, Ranjan Ratwatte, Lakshman Jayakody, Jeremy Lawrence, Stanley Jayawardena, Seeva Canagasabey, Shanthi Wimalasuriya, Noel Jansze, Gamini Vidurupola, Asoka Somaratne and Kishan Sakthivel.
It would be invidious to mention in some detail the contributions of our departed colleagues but permit me, to remember specifically Lakshman Jayakody who was a good cricketer and rugger player; later on he become a leading politician and was also the President of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. He, with Gilbert Paranagama and Stanley Jayawardena, were very staunch old boys. On a personal note, the passing away of my class mates Nihal Halangoda and Bobby Kumarasinghe has saddened me greatly.
While we each remember with ease those who excelled in sports, studies or oratory during our times, there were a great many in the quiet background, out of the limelight but silently building and contributing immensely to what we like to call the "Spirit of Trinity". They deserve our remembrance and honour as much as anyone else. They all have, in some way, big or small, enriched the lives of their companions, their families and the School that nurtured them.
Wherever Trinitians have been in the life of this country -whether in administration, the armed forces, diplomacy, law, medicine, planting, politics or in the universities, they have left indelible marks by their competence and integrity. We can only hope that the inspiration from these achievements will spread to illuminate the enviable "Spirit of Trinity" which kindles so much warming of the ageing cockles of our collective heart.
The humanity in each of our dear departed colleagues, their sense of service, their contribution to the country, and to their families, has been inextricably linked to their bonds with the School.
We pray that God in his great mercy may bless our colleagues and give them the blessing of eternal rest that they all truly deserve.
As Kalidasa says in his Sanskrit poem "Salutation to the Dawn", 'today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope".