國立中正紀念堂

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was built for the former Chinese leader in Taipei. Two sets of 89 stairs, which represent Chiang’s age at the time of his death, lead to the main entrance of the memorial.  Written inside above a large statue of Chiang are the Chinese characters for Ethics, Democracy, and Science. Writing on the side walls read The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity.

Representatives of the military guard the main area of the monument. We saw the changing of the guards which takes place every hour or so.  This was an elaborate ceremony, that took about ten minutes, in temperatures reaching 100f.

The ground level houses a library and museum documenting Chiang Kai-shek’s life, as well as many exhibits related to Taiwan’s history.  It has pictures of CKS with U.S. leaders from FDR to Ronald Reagan and humanitarians such as Ghandi. Probably one of the most fascinating things (besides being air conditioned) in the museum are both of his massive bullet/bomb proof Cadillacs.

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