BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- It was 15 minutes before opening time on Wednesday morning, and the entrance for the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution was already packed with visitors, despite the rain.
Marking the 90th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which falls on Aug. 1, a major exhibition was launched Friday, attracting people from all walks of life.
Featuring major PLA battles, events and historic achievements, the exhibition contains models of the major PLA military equipment in active service, with over 1,000 photos and 1,300 relics and other items on display.
"The museum is expected to accept over 60,000 tourists starting Thursday, when it opens to individual visitors instead of just visitor groups," Luo Qiuping, a museum employee, told Xinhua.
REWINDING OLD MEMORIES
For some older visitors, the exhibits mean much more than just pictures.
"The exhibition reminds me of the old times," said Liu Zhirong, an 85-year-old veteran from China's eastern city of Nanjing, who played his part in the War of Liberation (1945-1949) and the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-1953).
"I remember the time when we all thought the War of Liberation would take another eight years, but were thrilled to see it end early," he said.
As a scout back in the day, Liu can recall his duties thanks to the display of military technology.
"I could only resort to my senses, memories and drawings for collecting information back then. I'm deeply impressed with all the modern weaponry on display," Liu said.
Liu's sentiments were echoed by Zhao Zhansheng, the son of Zhao Yimin, a former major officer of northeast China's united forces against Japanese aggression.
"I took a lot of pictures of the better preserved relics," said Zhao Zhansheng, 78, with a camera on his neck. "The exhibition is great in the way it chronicles the history of the PLA and our Party."
EDIFYING YOUNG GENERATION
For younger visitors, the exhibition is more about raising interest and nurturing their hobbies.
"The armors and weapons appeal to me a lot," said Huang Jingkai, a 12-year-old from Xiamen City, who urged his father to take him to see the exhibition.
"He has repeatedly expressed his eagerness to the military museum for a long while," his father said.
It was the same for a group of 42 children at kindergartens or primary schools, who are the children of police officers in Beijing.
"They are particularly interested in the weapons on exhibition," said a teacher surnamed Nian in charge of the group.
The weapons were used by generations of PLA soldiers over 90 years, including self-made pistols during the War of Liberation, a model of a cannon that killed a major Japanese officer and others.
"The visit is a part of our summer camp," he added. "We want them to go through patriotic education at a young age."
A STRONGER ARMY
"It's an army of might and civilization," wrote a visitor named Yuan Xing at the exit of the museum, where visitors can take a seat and write down their views of the exhibition and the PLA.
"People are very keen on taking the time to drop some words," a museum employee said.
"It's a genuine education in patriotism, which I'll keep in mind for a very long time," wrote another visitor.
As for Liu Zhirong, with the PLA 90th anniversary drawing near, the exhibition is a necessity.
"It's important for China to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the PLA, because we shouldn't forget history," he said.
"Numerous people sacrificed for the PLA's missions, and every one of them had a notable legacy," said Ma Zhijiang, an amateur photographer.
"I hope the PLA will further develop its science and technology, as the significance of military scientific research is always getting bigger," Zhao Zhansheng added.
Liu, who joined the army at the age of 13, agreed.
"The PLA should continue on the path of modernization, and focus more on independent innovation to build a stronger army," he said.