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Total Defence Day 2013

This day, the 15th February is an important and significant day in Singapore’s history. In the year 1942, on the 15th February, Singapore fell to Japanese control when the British forces led by General Percival surrendered at 1820hrs to the Japanese Army. Every 15th February marks Total Defence Day, it also marks the anniversary of the surrender of Singapore during World War II.  Total Defence is for everybody to play a part no matter how big or small, in everyday aspects of our life from all walks of the society, to make our country Singapore, more resilient.

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15th February 2013 marks the 71st Anniversary of the surrender of Singapore during World War II.  The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) organised commemoration events in conjunction with Total Defence Day. I was invited by MINDEF Public Affairs to a private military event a Weapons Presentation Ceremony for the new recruits of 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards at War Memorial Park, which was part of 2013 Total Defence Day events.

The Weapons Presentation Ceremony is a special and unique event for the recruits during Basic Military Training when they made the symbolic first step from recruits into soldiers. This kind of ceremony is usually private and held in SAF camps or a place of historical significance. Being a former soldier that served my National Service, I went through the Weapons Presentation Ceremony before, in my camp. It was an important event and significant for the recruits that were presented with the weapons to defend our country Singapore.

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War Memorial Park is an ideal location for the Weapons Presentation Ceremony, it was constructed to remember all the civilian lives lost during World War II. The 61 meters tall monument, consisting of four columns, representing the four races in Singapore, joined at the base, signifying the unity of all the races. The new recruits of 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards; that were presented with their weapons at the War Memorial Park, would deeply remember their role, purpose, significance and importance of their roles in defending Singapore as a soldier of the Singapore Armed Forces. The Total Defence Day event on 15th February 2013, started with the placement of wreath by ceremonial military police, followed by the Last Post (Bugle Call) and the Observation of 1-minute of silence. It was a sombre moment with the Last Post being sounded and the moment of silence, reminding us of the fallen civilians during World War II. At 1820hrs, the weapons were presented to the recruits of 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, the approximate time when General Percival of the British forces signed the surrender agreement of Singapore in 1942.

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The weapons presentation was also attended and observed by family members of the recruits of the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards. Watching the weapons presentation ceremony from the sidelines, this brought back my National Service memories when I also went through the ceremony. After the weapons were all presented to the recruits, it was followed by the Recitation of the Weapon Pledge, the Recitation of the SAF Pledge and lastly the National Anthem of Singapore.

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While this marked the end of the ceremony and Total Defence Day 2013, their importance and significance must never be forgotten. Lest We Forget Total Defence Day. I would like to say a big Thank You to MINDEF Public Affairs for this special invitation to attend and observe this special ceremony.

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