Singapore has celebrated its fiftieth birthday. It became an independent country on August 8th, 1965. The high point of the celebrations was the largest fireworks display ever seen in Singapore. Thousands of people gathered in the streets. The country has been counting down since New Year's Eve. There have been hundreds of events to mark the fifty-year birthday. Singapore's Prime Minister gave a special message to the nation. He said: "The journey ahead is uncharted. But we must press on, because we aspire to do better for ourselves and our children."
Singapore has come a long way in the past fifty years. It became independent from Britain when it was thrown out of the Federation of Malaysia. It was very poor back then but the leadership of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew made Singapore wealthy. He died earlier this year. There was an empty seat for him at the parade. Singapore is the fourth most important global financial centre. It is the world's second busiest port. A woman said she felt sad that Mr Lee did not live long enough to see the anniversary. She said: "We definitely feel that something is missing this year."