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Three-year-old `honor guard' wows spectators

Three-year-old `honor guard' wows spectators

Taipei, July 15 (CNA) The changing of the guard ceremony at Taipei's Martyr's Shrine is a favorite with many tourists, but a toddler in front of them was the star attraction Thursday.
The three-year-old, identified only as "Ryan, " dressed in army fatigues, twirled and tossed his gun along with his older counterparts, only missing one toss and continuing the routine after calmly picking up his gun.
Ryan was invited to join Thursday's ceremony after he shot to fame when people saw him performing in films posted by his parents on the Internet.
The Ministry of National Defense then instructed its Material Production and Manufacturing Center to design a mini-rifle for the boy to help him fulfill his dream of being a member of the Honor Guard.
Shih Ko-shun, the 87-year-old who developed the gun twirling and tossing stunts for the Honor Guard, presented the specially made wooden gun to Ryan, who apparently wishes to join the Navy and become a member of the Honor Guard when he grows up.
His performance was described by Chen Chih-hsiang, a naval member of the Honor Guard, as "very talented and impressive." "It normally takes three months of practice before a new soldier is skilled enough to perform at the changing of the guard ceremony, but Ryan has done a great job," Chen said.
According to Ryan's mother, he seemed to have made up his mind about his future career at just eight months when he saw the ceremony for the first time.
"He just stared at them," his mother said, adding that "when Ryan grew older, he started to follow the guards and use his umbrella to practice the stunts during the ceremony." With his eyes still fixed on the Honor Guard, Ryan said that his new gun "is way cooler than the umbrella." (By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Maia Huang)