The government reinstated military honor guards at National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall after a 13-month hiatus, the Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday.
The honor guards, who perform rifle drill performances during the hourly changing of the guards, entered the hall at 6:30am yesterday morning and began their first performance at 9am.
This was the first performance since the ministry withdrew the guards and military police from the hall and the mausoleum of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in 2007 at the order of the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
The honor guards were removed when the hall was renamed National Taiwan Democracy Hall as part of the previous administration’s effort to abolish the cult of personality of Chiang Kai-shek that was encouraged during the KMT’s five-decades of single party rule.
The military reinstated the honor guards at the mausoleums in June, shortly after the KMT returned to power.
The honor guards are drawn from the three branches of the armed forces.
The honor guards planned performances with a Lunar New Year theme, the ministry said.
Another difference from previous performances is that instead of having honor guards from only one branch during each performance, the ministry has arranged for a mixed performance of all three branches so as to balance the manpower allocated by each branch.
General Sun Te-hsin (孫德信), who heads the department in charge of the honor guards, said he was happy to see the guards reinstated at the memorial.
“The three armed forces have been here for almost 30 years. We withdrew more than a year ago, and now that we are back, all the guards and directors are moved to see this moment happening,” he said.
The ceremony begins at 6:30am with the raising of the flag and singing of the national anthem. As the flag rises, the honor guards begin their rifle drill performance. However, the guards will not be performing today and tomorrow, so those who missed the performance yesterday can visit the memorial hall on Tuesday.
The move comes after the Ministry of Education announced on Wednesday that the name plaque at National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall will be removed and replaced with the original Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaque by the end of July.