By Sonia K.
Thousands gathered at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien early yesterday morning to witness the Ceremonial Royal Guard of Honour Parade to honour His Majesty's 61st birthday.
His Majesty's arrival at the Taman was marked with the beating of the 'Hadrah'. Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by YAM Pg Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pg Anak Hj Abdul Aziz followed by the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Md Yussof and the Commissioner of Police at the Royal Brunei Police Force Pehin Datu Kerma Setia Dato Paduka Seri Awg Zainuddin bin Jalani.
Accompanying His Majesty were HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah.
When the Monarch stood at the Royal Dais, the National Anthem was played and 21 shots of the cannon were fired to mark the start of the grand celebration of His Majesty's 61st birthday.
His Majesty then inspected the parade, which involved uniformed personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Police Force.
Several slow and fast marches by the RBAF and RBPF passed the Royal Dais, accompanied with music played by the armed forces and police bands.
The guard of honour reached its climax when three cheers of the "Daulat" were made by the participants and the crowd. A showcase of Royal Brunei Air Force helicopters and aircraft with 10 helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft, sliced through the sky, as His Majesty's loyal subjects looked on while the National Anthem was played signifying the end of the parade.
The morning parade then followed by the audience and an investiture ceremony where His Majesty accorded honours on outstanding people with meritorious titles and awards at the Istana Nurul Iman. Before that, His Majesty addressed the nation in a much-awaited Royal Titah from the palace's Throne Room.
Later at night, a state banquet was held followed by a display of fireworks.
- Borneo Bulletin
(16th July 2007)