Mingling with national servicemen at a National Day appreciation dinner in 1970. Send-off dinners, gift packs and commemorative medallions were presented to enlistees in the early days of NS to thank them for their contributions.
To safeguard Singapore’s sovereignty, its defence forces had to be built up. This need grew more urgent when the British suddenly announced they were withdrawing their forces from Singapore by 1971.
Mr Lee proposed conscription, with everyone playing a part to defend the country, as the best way to build up the Singapore Armed Forces. The National Service (NS) Bill was passed by Parliament on 14 March 1967. Shortly after, on 28 March 1967, the first batch of National Servicemen was called up. Together with Dr Goh Keng Swee, Singapore’s first Defence Minister, Mr Lee laid the foundations of today’s strong and credible SAF.
NS has since become an important part of in Singapore life. By forging bonds among young Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds, it plays an invaluable role in nation-building.