Crooning to patriotic tunes, egging each other and cheering their Prime Minister - it was a day of enjoyment for thousands of school children gathered for the Indepedence Day function at the historic Red Fort here.
Shaking off the early morning lethargy, around 3,500 boys and girls from schools across the capital converged for the 60th Independence Day function, lending a colourful touch to the meticulously-planned event.
Donning the colours of the national flag, they reached the venue as early as 4 a.M, but that did not dampen their youthful spirit, which was lauded by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his 45-minute address to the nation.
"I am attending such a function for the first time. I am really thrilled, especially by the Prime Minister's assurances on eradicating poverty and defeating terrorism," NCC cadet from Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya Sandeep Sharma said.
His friends were equally excited, but for various other reasons. "I am seeing the Red Fort for the first time. It is truly magnificent," Monica, a student from a school in Rohini in north-west Delhi said.
The grandeur of the function, however, did not deter them from enjoying every bit of it. They clapped, cheered and sang even as their teachers and the Delhi Police personnel deployed on duty tried to maintain order.
The icing on the cake for the children was the official memento -- an HMT wrist watch -- distributed to each of them by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee. They were also given a rain coat each.