Malaysians from all walks of life recovered from the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 tragedy when they demonstrated strong patriotic spirit to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the country's independence at the Dataran Merdeka, according to Malaysian News Agency "BERNAMA" today.
The Merdeka parade began promptly at 8.05am, after the arrival of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Haminah.
Tuanku Abdul Halim also inspected the Guard of Honour made up of 107 officers and personnel from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment from the Sungai Besi Camp, led by Major Ameiza Mohd Ashhari.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and wife Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman as well as cabinet members and heads of foreign missions were also present to watch the parade and two hours of exhilarating performances.
Together they united with more than 14,000 people joining the parade in a show of love for the country at the square where the Union Jack was taken down and replaced with the national flag now known as the 'Jalur Gemilang' in place of the British flag.
At 8.15am, the national anthem Negaraku was sung to the sound of 14 rounds of artillery fire followed by the pledge read by 57 participants comprising school students, undergraduates and civil servants.
Unity was also displayed through a march past by 23 contingents from government departments and agencies, private sector and security personnel, as well as lively field performances.
The pledge reading by a group of 57 pledge readers was led by a student from Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah in Putrajaya, Ahmad Amsyar Ahmad Afendi, who then led the crowd in shouting "Merdeka" seven times.
Sixty members of the Armed Forces marching band led by Left Aziz Joslim Abdullah took the lead in the parade, with the sound of RMAF SU-30MKM Sukhoi and Hawk aircraft rumbled above when they came together for a spectacular formation over the air space.
At the same time, there was a fly-past by five helicopters from the Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) carrying the national flag.
Those present also observed a minute of silence in remembrance of those warriors who had sacrificed their lives in the past.
Throughout the ceremony, a zeppelin bearing the image of the Father of Independence Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj hovered in the air space at Dataran Merdeka along with four drones, BERNAMA reported.