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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 16:30
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Muhammad Hashir

Nil

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Hilal Kids English

Children Get Motivation to Join Armed Forces The Awe-Inspiring Pakistan Day Parade

April 2024

A cool breeze ruffled my hair as we got seated in the guests’ enclosure at Shakarparian parade ground, Islamabad. The sky was a dreamy canvas, painted with fluffy white clouds that drifted lazily across the expanse of blue. It was the perfect backdrop for the national spectacle about to unfold. The crowd looked like a sea of green and white. It was the 23rd March Parade by the three forces – Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force – and this year, for the first time, I was going to watch it in person.



    A hush fell over the crowd as the hosts welcomed us all to the Pakistan Day Parade ground. My mother gingerly caressed my hair and said, “Today, beta, we celebrate the day our forefathers dared to dream. The day they demanded a home for all of us, a land where we could be free, where our faith could flourish.” Her thumb brushed a stray strand of hair from my forehead, a gesture filled with a quiet pride. “This parade, this freedom, it’s all because of their courage.”
    After the presidential address, the much anticipated Joint Services Parade commenced. A wave of excitement washed over me as a sea of olive green poured out onto the parade ground. The soldiers marched in perfect unison and their boots struck the pavement in a rhythmic thud. Their faces stoic under their caps held unmatched focus, a silent promise to protect. A warmth bloomed in my chest as I saw the defenders of our nation, march with determination, my heart synced with the rhythm of their footsteps sang along to the patriotic music playing in the back. 
    Soldiers from across Pakistan’s military spectrum filled the stadium. Navy personnel, in their white uniforms and adorned with medals, strode alongside camouflage-clad army troops. Pakistan Air Force pilots, their wings gleaming on their chests, marched with confidence. Contingents of Azerbaijani and Chinese militaries represented their countries’ strengths in the parade. My sisters were so excited to see the female soldiers marching with passion. Our nation’s forces were so inspirational that I envisioned myself marching among them, a protector of my homeland and my heart swelled with patriotism.



    After the parade march ended, a hush fell over the crowd as their gaze shifted skyward. The sky ripped open with a breath taking roar and a squadron of fighter jets, sleek and metallic, sliced through the rolling clouds, leaving trails of green and white smoke that dissipated like dreams in the morning light. JF-17s and F-16s ripped through the sky like arrows and the ground vibrated with a thunderous roar. It was the anthem of a nation’s might, and I felt a surge of electricity course through me.
    I gasped, the cheers of the crowd, a distant hum as I watched, mesmerized by the aerial ballet. The power, the precision, it was a dream come true, a taste of the impossible made real. The jets I used to commandeer in front of the PC screen were now zooming through the sky in front of my eyes. I felt a surge of immense pride well up inside me as I was so proud of my country’s technological prowess and the brave pilots who controlled these awe-inspiring machines. 
    The thrilling air show came to a close and the armed forces parade continued. As the soldiers marched, a deep resonating thud vibrated through the crowd. Crisp, ironed uniforms gleamed in the sunlight, each soldier a perfect reflection of the one beside him. Heads held high, eyes forward, they marched with unmatched focus, their every movement imbued with a sense of unwavering pride. A thrill coursed through my veins as I saw the elite SSG commandos jog into the parade ground. Clad in camouflage uniforms, holding close their arms to their chests, they moved with a silent intensity. Their eyes, sharp and focused, scanned the crowd and their chants of “Allah Hu!” sent shivers down my spine. These were the guardians, the protectors who lurked in the shadows, ensuring our safety. Hamza, my brother who is a big fan of SSG commandos, watched their parade in awe as his eyes twinkled with joy. He aspires to join Pakistan Army and become a commando.
    The spectacle continued, each segment a fantastical tableau that unfolded before my wide eyes. Tanks, behemoths of steel and firepower, rolled by. The arms of Pakistan were displayed on several floats. Our homeland’s nuclear-capable missiles, Shaheen I, II, and III along with Ghouri, Babar, and Nasr missiles, were also displayed. We felt so proud to see our homeland’s strong defence systems and technological arsenal.
    Then, a colourful procession of floats flooded the avenue celebrating Pakistan’s rich cultural and scientific prowess. The floats displayed the cultures of all the provinces of Pakistan. One float, adorned with towering minarets and intricately painted scenes, showcased the architectural wonders of Mohenjo-Daro. Another, a riot of colourful fabric and swirling dancers, depicted the joyous traditions of Pakistan’s provinces. A colossal model of a rocket soared skywards on one float, accompanied by models in lab coats which represented Pakistan’s budding space program. Another depicted the fertile fields of the Indus Valley.
    After the mesmerising floats passed, Pakistan Army, PAF and Navy paratroopers demonstrated their skills with free-falls from 10,000 feet.  Brave silhouettes emerged from high-flying aircrafts, tiny specks at first, growing larger with each heart-stopping second. PAF and Navy paratroopers, seemingly defying gravity, plummeted towards the earth with breathtaking skills and their colorful chutes blossomed like vibrant flowers against the clear blue sky. 
    As the final paratrooper touched down to a roar of applause and the jets faded into a distance, the airshow transitioned to a more peaceful spectacle. A vibrant float emerged from the distance. Gleeful children, their faces beaming with joy, danced to a lively tune. Each child wore a different traditional outfit. A little girl in a crimson gharara twirled next to a boy in a crisp Baloch topi, their smiles bright as they waved flags of Pakistan in their tiny hands. Their parade looked like a vibrant quilt, each square a different shade and pattern, stitched together to celebrate the rich mosaic that is Pakistan. 
    As the final float passed, a bittersweet feeling settled over the crowd. The air now held a touch of melancholy. Leaving the parade ground with my family, I carried a renewed sense of belonging. Witnessing the unmatched spirit of the soldiers, the unbridled joy of the children, and our culture, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of hope for the future. The 23rd March parade is a celebration of our culture, our past and a promise for the future. It was a promise that said that our lands are safe and protected by our beloved Armed Forces. The children that marched hand in hand showed unity, faith and discipline. Today’s parade showed patriotism and great national zeal.  And as we walked away, the faint patriotic drums playing in the distance, I knew I’d be back next year.

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Muhammad Hashir

Nil

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