For the second time, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) held a special Total Defence Day commemoration at the War Memorial Park. New recruits from the 3rd Guards Battalion were gathered around the four pillars of the War Memorial, where unidentified victims of the Japanese Occupation are buried beneath. Last year, 1st Guards Battalion had the honor of being the first unit of conducting the ceremony. Top SAF officials, NCC cadets and families of the young recruits were present during the ceremony, where Chief of Defence Lt General Ng Chee Meng, placed a wreath with REC Nicodemes Yeo Jun Jie.
This is followed by “Last Post”, played by two buglers and a minute of silence in remembrance of the fallen.
The recruits were reminded by their Commanding Officer 3rd Guards , LTC Lin Yuanfeng, to protect the honor and independence of Singapore, and not to be caught unprepared against incoming aggressors .
The SAR-21 assault rifles were then presented to the recruits, after which they joins brother in arms to pledge themselves to ”to be brave, honourable, disciplined, vigilant, and take good care of my rifle, at all times’.They then recite the SAF pledge followed by the national anthem.
The ceremony is a well thought of event, and sequences are planned flawlessly. Although military protocol might entail the CO to address their men, it will be more meaningful to have a true veteran to address them with his own words and feelings, rather than the partially reused script used by CO 3rd Guards. Well, it will be a matter of time before we will not hear the stories of the Occupation from their own mouths.
The Total Defense Day Weapon presentation is one of Singapore Armed Forces moves to increase the sense of purpose and value of National Service. Recruits now are able to get on field trips to historical sites and (during my time) defense science exhibitions. Since 2009, Pass Out Parade are held at the Floating Platform, in front of the Singapore skyline where they will protect.