They came to party at Marina Bay

A dazzling display of fireworks across the Marina Bay skyline capped Singapore's 49th birthday bash yesterday, marking what may be the last National Day Parade held at the bayside floating platform.

Next year's 50th jubilee parade will be at the Padang, and after that the celebration will have another venue at the new National Stadium at the Sports Hub. It has been held at Marina Bay since 2007.

Yesterday's parade, themed "Our People, Our Home", celebrated people from all walks of life, from the pioneer generation to workers in different jobs as well as the disabled.

In a first, performers from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) took part, drumming and marching, reinforcing a message of inclusiveness.

A slice of history was made at the start, when Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng became the first female Red Lion parachutist to jump at a National Day Parade.

After a combined band and silent precision drill squad performance, some 2,000 participants from 35 marching contingents took to the stage to showcase the Republic's military might.

The 27,000 spectators leapt to their feet and erupted in the loudest applause when former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, 90, appeared and made his way to his seat, assisted by aides. People left their seats to catch a glimpse of him or snap a photo of Singapore's founding father, who has not missed a parade since the first in 1966.

As the sky darkened, a blaze of pyrotechnics, visual effects and performers in bright costumes ushered in the show segment - a spectacle of lights and colours and upbeat music.

In a Facebook post after the parade, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said the show highlighted how Singapore's progress is built on each person doing his part to care for one another.

"The passion for Singapore displayed at the parade was stirring and infectious," he said.

Housewife Siti Zainah Sumadi, 60, who was there with her grandson and nephew, said: "I'm so happy to see people dancing, singing, enjoying."

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