Students holding their school flags during the mass pageant pass through Tian’anmen Square. PROVIDED TO TEENS
The grand military parade, mass pageant and evening gala were undoubtedly the highlights of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. For those who had the opportunity to take part in the events, they will be a lifelong memory.
Ma Minyang, 16, from the Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University, was one of the 100,000 people who glided through Tian’anmen Square with 70 floats. He was in a formation made up of teachers and students.
Ma couldn’t hold back his excitement. Although he couldn’t see much of the parade, he was amazed by the sound of hundreds of tanks rolling down the street. He cheered loudly when aircraft flew above his head. “It’s really exciting to see how mighty our motherland is,” he said.
Compared to the solemn ceremony in the morning, the evening gala was livelier. “The beautiful bloom of fireworks, the chorus of thousands of people singing together and bright symphonic music … all these still linger in my mind,” said Ma Congyuan, a 15-year-old student from Beijing No 4 High School. “Even though we had already rehearsed several times, the real performance wowed me like never before.”
Ma Congyuan, together with his twin brother Ma Conglin, were both members of a choir that sang at the celebration gala. Over 1,000 students from schools ranging in size from primary school to college performed 16 songs that night.
To give their best performance, they practiced very hard for months. Starting from July, they spent their summer vacation practicing.
Jia Tianhe, 16, from Beijing No 55 High School, took part in a group dance. He recalled training in the rain, but said it was worth it. “It made our hearts bind together. We’re really honored to celebrate New China’s birthday here.”
The bad weather could not stop the students’ enthusiasm, nor did the physical challenges. Having to maintain their posture and stay up late were some other tests of their willpower. “The rehearsals in Tian’anmen Square needed be held at midnight and lasted for hours. I used to pat my face to keep my mind clear,” Ma Conglin said.
When asked how they felt after the gala, the students said it was an honor to attend such a grand event. “When we started performing, the tension left and we felt immersed in joy and wild excitement. We witnessed a big moment for our country and felt really proud,” Ma Congyuan said.