Singapore celebrated its first National Day (image) in 1966, one year after Singapore's independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. The venue of the parade was usually at the historical grounds of the Padang, where the declaration of Singapore's independence was held.
(Songs by our local artistes heard on Rediffusion and Radio Singapore that year included, It's All Over; I Know; Happy Birthday, Baby; Making Believe by Naomi & The Boys, Silver Threads And Golden Needles by The Crescendos, Push, Push, by Keith Locke & The Quests and Mark Yun's, Never Die.) A recording of Naomi and The Boys was played over the loudspeaker during the lst National Day Parade.
Since the first parade in 1966 and up to 1975, the venue was located in this central area. The idea was to bring the parade closer to the people. In 1976, the parade was held for the first time at the newly completed National Stadium, where the much larger area of the stadium allowed for more people to view the parade live.
The National Day Parades are organised by the Singapore Armed Forces, with the extreme involvement of a multitude of public and private organisations.
The 1968 parade was the first parade to be held in the rain. By a strange coincidence the theme for that year was, "Building A Rugged Society".
Princess Alexandra of the British Royal Family, carrying out royal duties for the Queen, was the special guest at the 1969 parade, which not only celebrated Singapore's 4th birthday, but also celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding of Singapore.
(International popular hits included, Love Letters, by Elvis; Wind Me Up, Visions, by Cliff Richard, These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra, The Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel, Svensk-A-Flicka with Johnny Lion & The Jumping Jewels, 19th Nervous Breakdown; As Tears Go By by The Rolling Stones and Michelle by The Beatles.)
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Image: National Heritage Board.