August 9, 2013 is the 48th celebration of Singapore National Day and every year it is celebrated with a National Day Parade (NDP). Singapore uses the opportunity not just to celebrate the nation’s history and heritage but also as a nation building exercise. Organizers have invited citizens to participate and thousands are involved in the preparations and celebrations.

One way to get citizens involved was through stories! Singaporeans were invited to submit stories about being uniquely Singaporean, designed to create memories of their heritage and culture. The Straits Times’ also held a National Day Parade 2013 contest, inviting readers to submit their Singapore story in 48 words, with winners getting tickets to watch the parade.

Selena Tan, Creative Director for this year’s event and a veteran of NDP since she was 6 years old, talks about bringing the diverse country together.

“I have really taken into my heart the slogan for this year – “Many Stories… One Singapore”. I believe that we are no longer just one little red dot. We all have individual stories that are shared daily and affect one another. Like colourful dots that ripple out and form a vibrant and colourful home. Of course, not everything is perfect, but there is always hope for perfection. It is round the bend. We must just all journey on with love and compassion.

I hope to be as true as possible in this year’s NDP and put forward a variety show because that’s what we are, a variety of people with different hopes and aspirations and my prayer is that everyone’s hope and aspiration will find a home here. Whatever our differences are, we should come together like it’s National Day every day and fight for what is best for all of us. We do our best and we do it with love in our hearts and that’s all that counts.”

National Day Parade brings Singaporeans together, from all walks of life to celebrate the birth of the nation. Every one has an unique experience in this journey, and these experiences are what make NDP special.