Our first National Day Parade (NDP) was held at the Padang in 1966, a year after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia.
It drew massive crowds, and more than 23,000 people participated in the march past, as Singapore’s first president, Yusof bin Ishak, reviewed the parade on the steps of City Hall.
Since then, we haven’t missed a year. Whether on the grounds of the Padang or National Stadium, on the waterfront at the floating platform, or in front of our TV sets at home and abroad — 9 Aug has always been a day when Singaporeans gather to celebrate how far we’ve come.
Rain (the downpours in 1968 and 2008!) or shine, the show has gone on. It has always been a stage of firsts — the first mobile column in 1969, with 18 AMX-13 light tanks, reflected the defence capabilities of a newly independent nation. In 1970, we saw the first fly-past of the state flag, now an annual event, and in 1973 the first evening parade. Starting from the mid-1970s, heartland festivities brought NDP closer to every Singaporean.
Classic songs such as Stand Up For Singapore and Home have tugged at our heartstrings, while parachuting displays by the Red Lions and descents by commandos have made hearts skip a beat. We’ve clamoured for NDP funpacks, first introduced in 1991 (temporary tattoos anyone?), and since 1997, all Primary Five students look forward to a preview of the NDP. In 1999, Singaporeans abroad watched the parade for the first time over the internet, and in 2002, we toasted 37 years of independence with NEWater.
When we turned 50, we looked back together on our trials and tribulations, and celebrated with a bang — our largest fireworks display yet. Last year, amidst COVID-19, we stayed home and watched the first indoor concert and maritime sail-past in 20 years.
This year, for the first time in 55 years, NDP will take place on 21 Aug, after COVID-19 restrictions end. A ceremonial parade will be held on 9 Aug instead. This postponement reminds us that these are extraordinary, difficult times. And that in tough times, we take our challenges in stride, adaptable and steady, acting for the greater good, together.
Happy National Day! 🇸🇬
#TogetherOurSGSpirit #NDP2021 #WeAreTotalDefence #PsychologicalDefence #TogetherWeKeepSingaporeStrong