SINGAPORE - President Halimah Yacob delivered a National Day message on Friday (Aug 7), saying she hopes everyone is looking forward to this year's festivities, even if they are very different from the years before.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen led about 3,000 Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel to recite the National Pledge and sing the National Anthem on Friday morning during Mindef’s National Day Observance Ceremony. The ceremony was held virtually via video conferencing.
President Halimah, in a video posted on Facebook, said Singapore's 55th birthday would have been a milestone and a cause for great celebration, if not for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
She noted the severe disruptions the coronavirus has caused, impacting every aspect of life, including healthcare and the economy, and work and social activities.
Noting that Singapore's progress as a nation over the years has been a strong buffer against the crisis, she said it has still taken "all our strength and resources to mount an emergency response to this global challenge".
Madam Halimah also thanked front-line workers for helping to stabilise the situation in Singapore, and said she was heartened by Singaporeans coming together and mobilising resources to help one another during this difficult period.
She warned that difficulties lie ahead for companies, workers and families, and said individual and collective efforts will be required to overcome these challenges.
She concluded with this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) theme, saying that she was confident that a stronger Singapore will emerge if everyone stays together and mounts a united front.
Also centering on the NDP theme at Mindef’s virtual ceremony was a performance by artistes from the Music and Drama Company.
The pre-recorded performance featured a repertoire of community and National Day songs spanning Singapore’s history.
Senior members of Mindef and SAF were also present, including Senior Ministers of State for Defence Heng Chee How and Zaqy Mohamad, Permanent Secretary for Defence Chan Heng Kee, Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong, Permanent Secretary for Defence Development Joseph Leong, as well as the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs.
Mindef added that all SAF units, including overseas training detachments, will also be holding observance ceremonies to celebrate National Day.