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The Martyr's Shrine and Sun Yatsen Memorial
Pros: beautiful and peaceful place, dazzling choreography
Cons: none

Taipei, Taiwan
Sunday, Apr 11, 2004 23:37

The Martyrs’ Shrine is the Arlington National Cemetary of Taiwan. It holds the ashes of thousands of soldiers who have died in various wars throughout Taiwan’s history and serves as a memorial to all those who have died defending their homeland. It is a very peaceful and beautiful place, surrounded by a backdrop of green hills. The changing of the guard ceremony is a treat for the eyes and ears, consisting of twelve or so soldiers marching in unison with tiny cymbols attached to the heels of their boots. The choreography is dazzling, complete with rifle tossing and twirling bayonettes. The soldiers execute the performance so precisely that that if you close your eyes, it sounds like only one person marching.

The Dr. Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall is another beautiful and peaceful place to hang out in Taipei. I am lucky in that it is only one block from my office, so I often go there in between classes. The building is striking, as are the intricate gardens that surround it. There is even a tiny lake towards the front of the grounds where people can stroll, feed fish, and practice tai chi. More importantly, however, the lake brings the building into line with the principle of “fengshui,” which state that if a man-made structure is to be in proper physical harmony with the universe, its entrance should face water and its rear should face mountains. I don’t know about “fengshui,” but I do know that when I relax on the grounds of Dr. Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall, I somehow feel very peaceful…in physical harmony with the universe, if you will. Regardless, Dr. Sun Yatsen, having inspired the revolution against China’s hated Qing Dynasty, is a national hero in both Taiwan and mainland China. He is considered to be the founding father of the Republic of China and that’s why he deserves his own memorial hall and scenic park in the heart of Taipei.