There is much to be impressed by at the Anıtkabir. In my numerous visits there over the past decade, though, nothing has been more impressive than seeing and feeling the Turkish people’s love for Atatürk – and his love for them.
That love is felt in the smiles of children posing for photos with the soldiers who guard it – as well as in the soldiers’ gentleness in telling the occasional child who climbs too close to the tomb to come down (Atatürk was always very patient with children and the soldiers have not forgotten this).
It is felt in the prayers people quietly read for his soul, in the way people join in with the various patriotic songs playing in the museum. It is felt in the dedication of the soldiers who tirelessly guard the tomb and stand for hours on end no matter the weather, in the huge crowds that often form there as people come from all over Turkey and in the way people talk about their visit to the Anıtkabir when they go back home.