My friend and I walked up to a side entrance to the memorial and, seeing several people coming and going out of the gate, walked up to what we thought was an entrance. Smiling and waving at people, we walked into the grounds.
I was overwhelmed by the simple beauty of the memorial. The pristine white marble and blue tiled roof of the memorial hall is impressive. We stood in the mall in front of the memorial and between the traditional Chinese style buildings that house the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall. We were amazed at how quiet everything was and that there wasn't a soul in sight.
On the square directly in front of the Memorial Hall was a double line of police vehicles and buses. Odd. Still, there was no indication that we shouldn't be there, so we began our walk through the gardens that circle the monument. I was having a wonderful time in this beautiful, peaceful place as we enjoyed the lovely gardens.
When we had completed 3/4 of the circle, a guard came running after us frantically waving his arms to go with him and speaking loudly in Chinese. Fortunately, my friend knew just enough of the language to figure out that he needed us to leave as the memorial had been closed due to a threat of a student protest march. Of course we now understood all of the police vehicles on the plaza.
After we left the grounds, we went around to the very front of the site and saw many policemen, some in riot gear, and barbed wire blocking traffic lanes! It was a thrilling experience for so little actually happening. I will never forget it and hope to someday return to complete my tour of the Memorial Hall.