I went to the Martyr Memorial in Taiwan which commemorates their independence war in 1910. It features the names of the civilians and military personal who lost their lives in the war. As I walked up, there were a few hundred tourists standing in a perfect row down a long open entrance walkway on the front area of the grounds. I assumed they were standing against a roped off area, but when I reached them, it turned out they just had been held at bay by a few security personnel. The memorial had not comedy opened yet, and so the people are expected to remain outside of a certain area until after the morning opening ceremony. This is essentially the same thing that happens in the Vatican's St Peter's Basilica, combined with the changing of the guard at the London Palace. A multi language repeated announcement came over the intercom system. Explaining that the memorial would be opening at 9am, and China's national anthem would be played during an expected moment of solemn respect. I did not realize that a guard walk would be a precursor to the music. At this point I have made my way to the furthest point you are allowed to be at towards the monument's main building. But I notice people are starting to hustle and bustle back towards the entrance. I turned to see why and then saw a group of guards performing an orchestrated march of the entrance. I raced down to get the best manageable photos with such haste. It was very impressive how perfectly in unison they were. I liked the style of the march. It's not like it was some sort if crazy gymnastic routine. Rather the individual motions staggered by a 4 count ( by my count at least ). I could imagine losing my balance a time or five if I tried the same thing. The march leader ended their procession with a slightly different motion that was small but surely a balance difficulty. He remained perfectly vertical, but snapped one foot outwards after a tap. Which remained out during the four count. I didn't notice at the time, but I imagine now that his arms were positioned to handle the offset. After the march and the song, we were allowed full access to the accessible areas of the memorial. The giant crowd engulfed the photo opportunity areas. I did what photos I could with that many people in the way, and started to leave. I decided to get one last photo and walked back into the grounds, and then realized that the tourists were all leaving for their tour buses. Perfect!! I started looking through room with the names of civilians that gave their live for the freedom of their country, and I noticed two men cross through a restricted center area directly towards me. One is wearing a suit, the other is wearing a military uniform, and I'm really wondering what is about to happen. I've been to many foreign country locations where you suddenly get in trouble for taking pictures or having a tripod or whatever... and I'm doing both! So my mind is racing. The man I'm uniform asks if he can help me. Now... in America, in a place like that, that phrase really means "what the hell are you doing here?". But he really just meant did I need help with anything. The man in uniform is a colonel in the Taiwanese military who formerly oversaw the monument were in. The other man us a major who currently oversees it! Pretty damn cool! They start telling me about the history bring the monument, when it was built, about their 100 year anniversary a few years ago, everything! It was great! They called over a few soldiers to actually get me some English pamphlets with more about their history. The two in charge were soon called away to deal with something, so they had two other soldiers walk me around to the other rooms. One of them was quickly called away, so the two of us walked around and he gave me a great insight on what the different rooms were and the meaning of them. Along with the history of the original and replica items we looked at. So amazing! Everyone I met in Taiwan was so nice and overly helpful. What a great country! I did much more in Taiwan, this is just a story about my experience at the martyr memorial.  
By: Gareth