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."