In the spirit of "remembering those who have gone before," and to pay tribute to people who have lain down their lives in service to the nation, the central government holds memorial services every March 29 and September 3 in honor of the ancestors and national martyrs who have been killed in the line of duty.
These spring and fall memorial ceremonies are held at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine. Situated on Beian Road in Taipei City, the shrine is set against lush mountains at its back while looking out over the Keelung River. Completed on March 25, 1969, it covers an area of over 15,000 pings (49,575 square meters), including more than 1,600 pings (5,288 square meters) of floor space in the shrine itself. The quiet and secluded setting is both solemn and serene.
The ceremony at the Sanctuary is conducted by the President with the accompany of the Vice President and the presidents of the five branches of the ROC government, and attended by high-ranking central government civilian and military officials along with relatives of the military personnel or civilians who died in the line of duty. Also in attendance are representatives from the three branches of the military, civil servants, police, and firefighters. In all, over 200 people attend to pay their respect. The Minister of the Interior pays his respect at the Civilian-Martyrs' Shrine, accompanied by the secretaries-general of the five branches of the ROC government. Meanwhile, the Minister of National Defense leads the ceremony at the Military-Martyrs' Shrine, accompanied by the chief of the general staff, as well as commanders of the army, navy, air force, the reserve and the military police command.
The ceremony begins once the President's vehicle arrives at the Martyrs' Shrine, upon which calls to attention can be heard. A tri-service honor guard salutes the President and the band plays solemn music. Once the President's vehicle reaches the stone stairs to the Shrine Portal, the salute ends and the music ceases. The President exits the vehicle and is welcomed by the Secretary-General to the President, the Director-General of the Office of the President's Third Bureau, and the protocol officer to the President. The President is escorted to the Sanctuary by the Secretary-General, the Director-General of the Third Bureau, and the Chief Aide-de-camp to the President. The honor guard salutes and a band plays music. Once the President enters the Sanctuary, the music ceases and the salute ends. A bugler plays Sol-Mi-Do (i.e., "at ease").
This solemn environment sets the stage as the master of ceremonies announces the beginning of the ceremony. Drums beat and bells sound as all who are paying their respect take their positions. The band plays the national anthem, after which the President lays a wreath at the spirit tablets. After a protocol officer reads an oration, the President leads those in attendance in bowing three times. The ceremony takes about 15 minutes.
As the ceremony concludes, the band in the Sanctuary again plays solemn music while the President shakes hands and pays respect to the representatives of the survivors.
The President is escorted out of the Sanctuary by the Secretary-General, the Director-General of the Third Bureau, and the Chief Aide-de-camp. The music ceases, the honor guard salutes, and the sounds of drums and bells fill the air. When the President emerges from the Shrine Portal, the troops end their salute. The President walks up to the stone stairs and gets into the vehicle and the drums and bells cease. The honor guard at the main gate salutes and solemn music is played by the band. The President's vehicle then leaves the premises.