I remember clearly, in Primary One, watching the National Day Parade march-past held in front of the Padang. The Ministers’ chairs were placed on what are now the steps of the National Gallery, their shirts a stark pristine white on our boxy black and white television. At home, I sat with my Mum, Dad and 5-year-old brother, brimming with excitement.
As the years passed, I continued to watch National Day on TV with the same enthusiasm as I did when I was a child. Every year, the entire family gathers together, now with our flat-screen coloured TV; except twice, when my daughter performed on stage, and we instead made our way to the floating platform to watch the parade live.
National day is the foremost celebratory event of the year. Unlike ethnic festivals that celebrate our heritage, this is an event that all Singaporeans, regardless of race and religion, celebrate in unity. On this day, we as a nation rejoice and take pride in the peace, progress and prosperity our nation has achieved in just 51 years!
It’s a time for togetherness; as a family, and as a nation.
Last year’s National Day celebration was imbued with nostalgia and even sorrow as we celebrated Singapore’s Golden Jubilee; the first National Day without Mr Lee Kwan Yew.
This year, we are faced with new challenges. I am filled with hope and optimism that as we celebrate the 51st year of Singapore’s independence, we will have the resilience and resourcefulness as one people, as Singaporeans, in facing our future boldly; as a harmonious and unified nation.
Dr June Goh