Tuesday, April 03, 2001

China 2001 - Flag rising at Tiananmen Square

We woke before dawn and took a taxi to Tiananmen Square to get there for the flag rising at sunrise. What I saw I must say was awe-inspiring. Since we were there in the off season everywhere that we went was not crowded, but there at least 2000 people there just to watch them raise the flag, and we were the only foreigners there. Right at sunrise, in perfect formation out of Tiananmen Gate marches the color guard. Traffic comes to a complete standstill on the road. That in its self is a feat considering the driving style in China. Everyone around me suddenly hushes and stands still while they march out. They raise the flag and speakers everywhere start playing the Chinese national anthem. The flag goes up and the changing of the guard happens. Within ten minutes life is back to noisy reality. The square is filled with people walking, exercising, selling post cards and flying kites. But for that short time it seemed like one of those slow motion shots where the world stands still. It really made me feel more patriotic for my own country watching how these people felt about an every day event.

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