Taoyuan resident to host 22nd annual flag raising ceremony

Neither heart surgery, financial woes or damage to his thousands of national flags will keep a Taoyuan resident from hosting a national flag-raising ceremony on the Republic of China's National Day for the 22nd consecutive year on Monday.

Seventy-six-year-old Chang Lao-wang (???) will take up the role he has held for more than two decades at a plaza next to a park in Pingzhen District despite being in poor health.

Chang had a heart operation recently and has faced financial difficulties since then, and his problems were compounded last month when Typhoon Megi damaged thousands of his own flags that he used to decorate the flag-raising venue.

Upon learning of Chang's problems, his nephew Chang Kuo-wei (???), who recently retired from the military, spent NT$80,000 (US$2,550) to purchase national flags to help Chang collect the 20,000 national flags he needed for the ceremony.

Other sources of support also began to surface after news of the typhoon's damage spread.

Kuomintang (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu donated 1,000 national flags, and Taoyuan City Council Speaker Chiu Yi-sheng (???) donated 5,000 flags.

A local businessmen named Wang Ken-shen (???) contributed another 2,000 flags and other private citizens also contributed to the cause.

Deeply touched by the support, Chang expressed his appreciation and promised to hold the national flag-raising ceremony come "rain or shine" to mark the annual Oct. 10 National Day on Monday.

Chang is the son of a retired military officer who retreated to Taiwan with Kuomintang troops in 1949 after the KMT lost the Chinese civil war.

Chang began to host the national flag-raising ceremony on Oct. 10 22 years ago, and it has become an annual ritual in Taoyuan that draws thousands of people every year regardless of which political party is in power.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel