Some 200 pioneers who toiled to build Singapore were feted at the nation's 49th birthday celebration yesterday.
The group, made up of pioneers in fields such as finance, nursing and the military, were specially invited to watch yesterday's National Day Parade (NDP) in recognition of their contributions to Total Defence.
Some, like 65-year-old Azizah Mohamed Yusoff who has been a nurse for 43 years, even proudly donned badges displaying the Singapore flag.
"It's my second time at the NDP since the 90s. Things have changed tremendously since then," she said, gesturing at a group of pioneers around her who were taking selfies.
Retired POSB bank manager Ng Kim Soon, 73, who was there to catch the parade live for the first time, said: "I'm most looking forward to the portion where they show us how Singapore has progressed."
Another pioneer, retired army regular Kang Lye Take, 65, recalled marching through a relentless thunderstorm for two hours from the Padang to Queenstown in 1968.
"It was so exciting. We just kept going despite the pouring rain. No such thing as stopping," he said.
A video montage of pioneers was screened during the parade and ceremony segment - a first at the NDP - as a tribute.
Away from Marina Bay, Singaporeans also headed to Safra clubhouses and shopping malls such as Lot One to celebrate the occasion.
But for paradegoer and digital marketing consultant Husain Rashid, 30, seeing the fireworks live is an experience like no other. "You can't just get that feeling or (photo) shot anywhere else."
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