Although there was uncertainty about whether this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will be held, MINDEF confirmed the event by unveiling its first rehearsal for the parade.
Taking place at the Padang on Sunday (26 Jul), the Parade & Ceremony (P&C) segment saw the four guard-of-hour contingents, formed by the Singapore Army, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF), rehearsing for a unique NDP this year.
Each contingent will have 36 participants, halved by its size in previous NDPs. They are all required to wear a mask throughout the ceremony as well.
“The contingents have been exercising very strict discipline, in terms of ‘cohorting’ and ensuring that they themselves are well. I think that so far so good, they have kept themselves free from infection, but we are always monitoring,” said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen who was present at the rehearsal.
Parade Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Master Warrant Officer David Ling said it was a little bit challenging at the beginning because it is a little harder to breathe.
However, Dr Ng emphasised the importance and significance of holding the NDP even in the midst of a crisis and therefore the need to implement all the necessary safety precautions.
“I think as all Singaporeans know, it’s a very challenging year because of COVID-19. But we have to stand together and send a very strong message as Singaporeans that no matter what comes, rain or shine, virus or no virus, (we have the) resolve to celebrate our national day as one nation, (and) our resolve to overcome our difficulties.”
That’s what National Day means and what it has meant ever since Singapore’s independence 55 years ago, he added.
In total, there will be 300 participants. Spectators will be maxed at 150 “representatives of society”, compared to the usual tens of thousands.
The spectators will be split into three segregated sectors of about 50 each. The three sectors will not interact with each other and each will have different routes for entry and exit as well.
Highlights of the parade will include:
- Presidential gun salute conducted at the Padang for the first time, together with the marching contingents
- State flag flying past by the RSAF’s CH-475D Chinook helicopter, escorted by two AH-64D Apache helicopters
- Six F-15SG fighter planes flying in a delta formation to perform a “roar of unity” across the Padang
- “Nationwide anthem moment” and a salute to frontline and essential workers
– President Halimah Yacob – together with the parade – will lead the national anthem as the state flag is raised at the Padang
– Flag-raising ceremonies will take place across Singapore as a sign of unity among Singaporeans