In the center of Tiananmen Square, directly upon the central axis of the old city, stands the Monument to the Heroes of the People. It was built to commemorate those soldiers who fell fighting in the revolution. Construction of the monument began in 1952, and the completed structure was unveiled six years later on May 1st, 1958. It is almost 38 meters high.
Two inscriptions in gilded characters decorate the body of the monument. On the side facing south there is a message from the late Premier Zhou Enlai. It reads as follows: "Eternal glory to the Heroes of the People, those who died during the last three years of the War of Liberation and during the past three decades of Revolution!
Eternal glory to the Heroes of the People, those who died in the struggles against foreign and domestic enemies for national independence and for the people s freedom and happiness from 1840 on!" On the northern side, there is another message written by Chairman Mao Zedong. It reads: "The Heroes of the People are immortal!"
The base of the monument is decorated with ten bas-relief carvings. They depict chronological events during the revolutionary period from 1840 to 1949. The sequence begins on the eastern side and moves clockwise around the base. These are the events shown in the carvings:
On the eastern side we begin with destruction of Opium at Humen in Guangdong Province from 1839-1842. Next is the Jintian Uprising in Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in Guangxi from 1851-1864. On the next side facing south we see the 1911 Revolution in Hubei Province, the May 4th Movement in Beijing in 1919 and the May 30th Movement in Shanghai in 1925.
To the west the pictures are the Nanchang Uprising in Jiangxi in 1927 and the War of Resistance against Japan from 1937-1945. On the last side we see Grain for the Front; the Successful Crossing of the Yangtze River in 1949 and, last but not least, a picture entitled "Long live the Liberation Army!"
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