Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to the generations of national servicemen and the critical role that they have played in ensuring peace and prosperity for Singapore over the past 50 years. PM Lee was speaking at the 50 Years of National Service (NS50) Dinner Reception, held at Marina Bay Floating Platform earlier this evening. The dinner reception carried the NS50 theme "From My Generation to Yours".
At the dinner, PM Lee announced that the Marina Bay Floating Platform and seating gallery would be redeveloped into a permanent structure and renamed as NS Square, to symbolise Singapore's commitment to NS, and recognise the contributions of generations of national servicemen. The NS Square would be the key venue for future National Day Parades (NDP) and feature an expanded seating capacity to allow more Singaporeans to experience the NDP celebrations. It would also be the venue for Basic Military Training graduation and Unit Stand Down parades, and narrate the NS story from one generation to the next through various exhibits and organised events. Referring to the NS Square development, PM Lee said, "Its permanence, and prominence, in Marina Bay, will reflect the central role that NS plays in our lives… Ultimately NS is about making the sacrifices needed to protect our country and our families. This is the common spirit of NS that endures throughout the generations. This is the legacy we pass from my generation to yours."
As part of the dinner programme, PM Lee presented the "NSmen of the Year Award" to 28 Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team, in recognition of their dedication to NS. PM Lee also put the finishing touches on an NS50 commemorative painting, which was a ground-up initiative by the Singapore Art Society and ST Engineering, to commemorate NS50.
The NS50 Dinner Reception was a key event organised by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs that capped off a year-long commemoration of the contributions and sacrifices made by our Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) and NSmen towards the defence of our nation. More than 1,500 guests attended the dinner, including Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam, Minister in Prime Minister's Office Mr Chan Chun Sing, Second Minister for Defence Mr Ong Ye Kung, Second Minister for Home Affairs Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, NSFs, NSmen, employers, as well as members from the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs (GPC-DFA) and the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD). Other events which commemorated NS50 this year included the launch of the SAF's NS Gallery in Pulau Tekong, the Army Open House, the SAF Day Parade, National Day Parade and NS50 Week. These events reflect the strong and consistent public support for NS, and the personal commitment of Singaporeans to continue defending our home.