PM Lee's official visit to the US

PM Lee gets warm welcome at White House

Mrs Lee and Mrs Obama on a tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The painting here is a portrait of the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, the last painted depiction of him without a beard. Mrs Lee, Mrs Obama and Mrs Vivian Balakrish
Yesterday's welcome ceremony for PM Lee at the White House was full of pomp and grandeur. As he and Mr Obama stood on stage, a military band played the Singapore national anthem and a 19-gun salute was fired.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Mrs Lee and Mrs Obama on a tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The painting here is a portrait of the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, the last painted depiction of him without a beard. Mrs Lee, Mrs Obama and Mrs Vivian Balakrish
PM Lee taking a photo of guests on the South Lawn of the White House. He and Mr Obama drew cheers as they mingled with the crowd and shook hands with people, some of whom had waited for hours in the heat to attend the ceremony.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Mrs Lee and Mrs Obama on a tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The painting here is a portrait of the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, the last painted depiction of him without a beard. Mrs Lee, Mrs Obama and Mrs Vivian Balakrish
Mrs Lee and Mrs Obama on a tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The painting here is a portrait of the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, the last painted depiction of him without a beard.ST PHOTO: MELISSA SIM
Mrs Lee and Mrs Obama on a tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The painting here is a portrait of the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, the last painted depiction of him without a beard. Mrs Lee, Mrs Obama and Mrs Vivian Balakrish
Mrs Lee, Mrs Obama and Mrs Vivian Balakrishnan (right, in white) enjoying a performance by students from the Turnaround Arts Summer Programme.ST PHOTO: MELISSA SIM

2,000 people wait in summer heat to cheer his arrival and attend grand ceremony

Some 2,000 people stood on the South Lawn of the White House waving little Singapore and US flags as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was welcomed by President Barack Obama in a ceremony full of pomp and grandeur.

The ceremony started with Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeting Mr Lee and Mrs Lee as the Singapore leader and his wife emerged from their car that had pulled up to the White House.

Then, as the two leaders stood on a purpose-built stage, the military band played the Singapore national anthem. At the same time, a 19-gun salute was fired.

Mr Lee and Mr Obama then inspected a guard of honour.

Yesterday's ceremony also included a parade by members of the US Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, dressed in 18th-century colonial uniform.

The ceremony was not all solemn, however.

After inspecting the guard of honour, the two leaders drew cheers from the crowd as they mingled and shook hands with those who had waited hours in the summer heat for the ceremony.

The weather in the American capital has been so hot in recent days that the joint press conference of the two leaders - normally held in the Rose Garden - was moved indoors.

Those who attended the ceremony said the wait was well worth it.

Said Mr Ian Chung, 30, a Singaporean living in Washington who waited 11/2 hours: "I'm happy to be here and to be part of such a historic moment in Singapore's history."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee gets warm welcome at White House'. Print Edition | Subscribe