This Wednesday’s Wonder: The 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei, Taiwan.
“What does the pagoda stand for?” I asked my husband. He looked perplexed for a moment and then said: …Only travelers want to know what everything means…
Well, isn’t that the truth. Locals walk by monuments, neighborhoods and parks daily with as little as a glance towards the object in question. It’s become so much a part of the landscape that history and the present melt together to make some kind of living anthropology book.
How easy is it to forget that in our own backyard, race riots from 1992 once (literally) ignited South Los Angeles. Or that the original Muscle Beach was actually located in Santa Monica before it moved to its current location in Venice Beach, CA.
This sentiment isn’t the same for Taiwan. You can ask anyone what the 228 Peace Memorial Park is for and they will know like it happened yesterday.
The entire 228 Peace Memorial Park was the scene of an anti-government incident on February 27, 1947. Taiwanese citizens challenged the National Party in power and the next day, it led to tens of thousands of people being massacred, disappearing and being imprisoned if they were seen as a threat to the state.
It was only until 1995 that the incident got the recognition it deserved in the form of a holiday known as Peace Memorial Day. On February 28, 2011, the incident was further commemorated with a park.
For almost 50 years, it was taboo to talk about the 228 Incident. Now, its concrete sidewalks, statues and wooden pagodas are permanently etched into Taiwan. How fabulously refreshing that with a history older than most European countries, Taiwanese would know and remember every importance. And us travelers, well, we want to know what everything means.A pagoda at the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei, Taiwain.
What’s been your favored monument on your travels?