On the 70th Martyrs’ Day yesterday, thousands of visitors visited the Secretariat in downtown Yangon to get a glimpse of the first Burmese Parliament and the cabinet room where Bogyoke Aung San and the martyrs were assassinated.
The national museum has lent the original furniture and artifacts that were in the room during the time of the assassination. The chairs which Bogyoke Aung San and the martyrs sat have been labelled with their names. The spot where bodyguard Ko Htwe fell from a gunman’s bullet is also marked with his name. Also on display are 28 items used by the leaders of early independence, including fountain pens, pencils, keys, wristwatches, blankets, lighters, cigarette boxes, money and signed notes.
U Min Aung, 61, one of the many visitors to queue up and visit the Secretariat yesterday, said it is a good thing they have opened the historic cabinet room to the public. He said he hopes the chance of viewing the room where national heroes were assassinated will inspire younger generations to endure and sacrifice for their country. Forty pieces of artwork from students, which depict the courage and sacrifice of the fallen heroes, were on display in the gallery of the Secretariat.
Ten-year-old Ma Kay Thiri Kyaw spoke of her visit to the Secretariat yesterday, describing the flagpole on which the British Union Jack was replaced with the Burmese flag in 1948. She also saw the artwork on display and the chair where Bogyoke Aung San sat while at work. She said she will soon visit the Martyrs’ Mausoleum and the Bogyoke Museum.
The first Parliament Building was used by the Hluttaw from 1936 to 1962, and the first draft of the constitution was written there. The cabinet room was used for administration purposes since 1905 and was also Bogyoke Aung San’s office.
Although officials announced that the Secretariat would be opened to the public from 7am to 4pm, the closing time was extended yesterday to 6 pm in order to accommodate the very large number of visitors.
Officials said 42,101 Myanmar citizens and 205 foreigners visited the building yesterday. The Secretariat is usually opened for one day only on Martyrs’ Day, but this year it will also be opened to the public today and tomorrow.