The celebration of National Day in Tiananmen Square was a stirring experience. The wall of the Forbidden City facing the Square was built with a series of recessed steps which permitted seating. Chairman Deng Xiaoping was two rows above us and a bit to the right. We were in excellent company.

Five hundred thousand people carrying pom-poms filled the Square. Groups with different colors waved them in unison to the sound of music. All of this was beneath a canopy of light. Powerful searchlights rimming the city met over Tiananmen Square creating an unusual umbrella effect.

As a finale, there was a fireworks display beyond our imagination.

With the celebration completed, our escorts suggested we return to our car which was parked within the Forbidden City. We said we'd prefer to walk back to the hotel and be part of this exuberant crowd.