Sixty years ago, from atop the Tiananmen Rostrum, former Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of a new  nation - the People's Republic of China. The first of October is China's National Day, similar to when the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. But to say that October 1 is the equivalent of America's Fourth of July is an understatement.

In America, on our national day, we have cook outs, get drunk with friends and family and shoot off a few fireworks. There's also the occasional parade.

In China, the same is true, minus the cook outs and beer, yet magnifying the intensity and importance of the holiday by about a thousand.

Celebrations are held throughout the day, with the main ones in the morning and evening.

A flag-raising ceremony commenced the events - and was much more elaborate than the one I'd gotten up to see about two months ago.

The military parade and National cultural pageant (also in parade format) that followed were over 2 hours. I'd been anxiously awaiting the military parade for a few months, having only seen clips on TV or videos shown at gift shops in Tiananmen Square. We just don't have events like this in America - tanks rolling down the streets, soldiers marching in line. Not to mention the nuclear missiles they rolled out for the parade. 

While it would have been nice to see the parade in person (it was only open to Party members and VIPS) seeing it on TV was just as amazing. You could even here some of the singing, music and aircraft flyovers from my apartment. And who knows. Perhaps in another 10 years I will be invited to the parade as a senior VIP foreign expert.

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