SINGAPORE - It was not just at ceremonies and parades in schools and army camps that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day was celebrated yesterday. The special day was marked online too.
Thousands of servicemen, past and present, took to social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to post photos and videos paying tribute to national service.
Some, such as user "fnkwh", uploaded old photos of themselves in military fatigues, while others shared group shots taken with their NS buddies.
The hashtag #SAF Day also became a popular trending topic on Twitter throughout the day.
At press time, there were more than 1,200 posts on Instagram with the #SAFDay hashtag.
A separate effort launched by the SAF to get the public to pin virtual "badges" on their Facebook display pictures to commemorate the occasion drew more than 13,000 users.
Many used pictures of themselves in uniform, while some even put up shots taken with their loved ones at commissioning parades.
One such user, undergraduate Melvyn Teo, 24, posted a photo of himself during military training in New Zealand.
"It's one of my fondest memories, because I got to go outfield despite being downgraded, to experience the weather and shoot other soldiers in action," said Mr Teo, who served his NS in the SAF Film Unit.
"I noticed my friends putting up the badges, and thought it was a good way to show my support for SAF Day and our soldiers."
Elsewhere, more than 3,000 servicemen attended the SAF Day parade, officiated by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at Safti military institute yesterday.
These included top military brass, SAF regulars, full-time national servicemen and operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen). President Tan presented the 1st Commando Battalion, which won this year's Best Combat Unit award - its 11th consecutive victory - with the State Colours.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen delivered the annual SAF Day message at a re-dedication ceremony at ITE College Central.
"We pledge ourselves individually to be committed, well trained and professional soldiers," said Dr Ng.
"When called upon, we will serve with pride and honour, flying our Singapore flag proudly, as we did over this past year, whether in distributing masks during the haze, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 or relieving the humanitarian crisis following Typhoon Haiyan," he added.
Some 650 NSmen also reaffirmed their allegiance at three other such ceremonies. These were officiated by Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say and Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
Male teachers at schools, such as North Vista Primary, also turned up in their uniforms, to recite the pledge and rededicate themselves.
"We got our teachers to share with the students about NS, and the students to write thank-you notes to people who serve... One concept we use to explain defence, so that they understand easily, is how Singapore cannot be 'bullied' by outsiders," said North Vista Primary principal Phua Kia Wang, 53.
PM Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook post
Happy #SAFDay2014 to all NSFs, regulars and NSmen. The SAF is critical to our Total Defence. Because of your blood, sweat and tears, the SAF is strong and respected, and Singapore is safe and peaceful. A big thank you to all – Army, Airforce, and Navy – who have made SAF the pride of our nation!
This article was first published on JULY 2, 2014.
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