Like almost everything this year, National Day was different. But in a way, as Kurt Ganapathy found, the celebrations brought more Singaporeans together than ever before.

With Phase 2 restrictions remaining in place, Singaporeans couldn’t celebrate the country’s birthday in the way they typically do.

Gone was the traditional spectacle of the evening National Day Parade, replaced with a scaled-back morning parade and evening performances at an indoor venue.

That didn’t mean we couldn’t celebrate at all, however. While we weren’t able to go to the parade, the parade came to us. 

In Sengkang and Jurong, we gathered as the Red Lions parachuted into the heartlands for the first time. 

Across the island, we watched from our windows as helicopters carried the state flag and six F-15SG Eagles flew in formation in the Roar of Unity. 

On five routes, we lined the streets as the Mobile Column rumbled by. 

We paid tribute to the frontliners and essential workers who have kept Singapore running in the face of COVID-19. 

At night, after we recited the pledge and sang the national anthem, fireworks lit up the sky in 10 locations, from Tampines to Buona Vista and Woodlands to Marina Bay.

Beyond August the 9th, our neighbourhoods were decked out with flags and banners, and ten iconic buildings around the Civic District and Bras Basah were illuminated in red and white.

Singapore’s 55th birthday will be remembered for how we had to stay apart, but it will also be remembered for how it brought the country together in a whole new way.

Photography and editing: Kurt Ganapathy

Curation: Arman Shah


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