15th February is just like any other day in our calendar. For Singapore, 15th February is an important date for us to remember in our history, it’s the day when Singapore entered into a period of darkness 72 years ago on the 15th February 1942, when Singapore surrendered to the Japanese during World War 2, plunging Singapore into a dark period from 15th February 1942 to 12th September 1945.
15th February is an important date for all of us to solemnly remember and not to forget our history and what happened to Singapore in 1942. Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) held a Total Defence Day Commemoration Event at the War Memorial Park in City Hall area, with a weapons presentation ceremony to the new recruits of 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards. The weapons presentation is an important milestone in the life of a recruit becoming a soldier in their National Service.
The War Memorial Park is of great and important significance for Total Defence Day and the weapons presentation ceremony. The 61m tall memorial monument comprises of 4 columns, representing the 4 races and it is joined at the base to signify the unity of all races. It was built to remember the civilians of all races who lost their lives during World War 2. Having the weapons presentation at the War Memorial Park reminds our soldiers on the ultimate purpose that they have been training for, to defend Singapore.
The Total Defence Day Commemoration Event started with the laying of the wreath by the selected recruit from 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards along with the Chief of Defence Force. The Last Post was played (and for those who understand the significance of the Last Post) it was a sombre moment to remember those who had fallen, followed by the 1 minute of moment of silence. The playing of the Rouse was followed after the moment of silence.
At 1820hrs, the time when General Percival surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the weapons presentation commenced and it brought me back memories, to my days of serving National Service and receiving my weapon in the ceremony. The Recitation of Weapon Pledge and the SAF Pledge followed after that, with the National Anthem being played at the end of the SAF Pledge.
Let’s take this time to remember our fallen, our history, and progress and not take things for granted. Everybody plays a part in Total Defence.
Lest We Forget
* I would like to thank Mindef Public Relations for the invitation to attend SAF Total Defence Day Commemoration Event 2014 at the War Memorial Park at City Hall *