A grand national day bash

Patriotic spirit: Spectators cheering as a Singapore Air Force Chinook helicopter escorted by Apache helicopters paraded the Singapore flag to mark the country’s 57th National Day. — AFP

The Float @ Marina Bay was nearly filled to capacity with eager spectators ahead of this year’s National Day Parade (NDP).

This year’s parade – themed Stronger Together, Majulah! – celebrated Singapore’s 57th birthday and is the first since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to take place in front of a crowd not limited by public health safety measures.

The culmination of months of training and rehearsals, the Aug 9 bash featured thousands of parade participants as well as show performers – significantly more than the NDPs in 2021 and 2020.

From 4pm yesterday, fully vaccinated audience members streamed into The Float, going through security measures such as metal detectors and X-ray machines.

The 25,000-strong crowd at the platform – which is hosting its final parade before being redeveloped into the NS Square – was mostly a sea of red and white.

Following the arrival of Members of Parliament and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, the Float@Marina was treated to a crowd favourite – the Red Lions free-fall jump.

There were audible “oohs” and “aahs” as the 10 commandos jumped out of a C-130 aircraft and deployed their parachutes, although one of them suffered a rough landing and was stretchered off. The audience was later told that his condition was stable.

People in the stands were on their feet for the arrival of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In his National Day message on Monday, he said the Republic has to look to the long term, beyond addressing immediate issues such as inflation and the cost of living.

About 2,000 participants from 37 virtual and physical marching contingents lined up for this year’s parade and ceremony segment.

Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) F-16 fighter aircrafts performed aerobatic manoeuvres over and around the Marina Bay area, and naval divers jumped off a helicopter into the waters of the Marina Bay.

President Halimah Yacob also arrived to attend her fifth NDP as the head of state.

This was followed by a salute to all national servicemen to mark 55 years of service this year.

Servicemen in the audience were asked to stand and there was also a tribute video played, featuring various national servicemen reflecting on their experience in uniform. — The Straits Times/ANN

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