The guns boom, the skies weep

A heavy downpour rained down - as even the heavens seemed to weep - as the funeral cortege of Mr Lee Kuan Yew wound past the historic Padang. It was here that on June 3, 1959, after sweeping the polls at general elections for the first fully elected Legislative Assembly, Mr Lee and his colleagues held a victory rally. To the tens of thousands gathered there, and who had placed their faith in the People's Action Party, he said: "Once in a long while in the story of a people, there comes a great moment of change. Tonight is such a moment in our lives... We begin a new chapter in the history of Singapore." The Padang and City Hall were also where Mr Lee read out the proclamation of merger with Malaya in 1963, and where he proclaimed Singapore's independence two years later. Singapore's first National Day Parade was also held here, and the 1968 NDP at the Padang had also been drenched by a downpour.

As the cortege made its final journey, cannon on the Padang fired a 21-gun salute in honour of Mr Lee.

In the background is the Old Parliament House, the scene of so many fiery speeches from Mr Lee, first as an opposition assemblyman, then as Prime Minister and Senior Minister.

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