The following was taken from the book "Chinese Holiday Stories 中國節日故事." This book was published by ACME Cultural Enterprise Co., Ltd. 世一文化事業股份有限公司 in 2000.
"National Revival Day"
民國十六年, 日本軍人田中義一組織內閣, 執掌政權; 自從那時候起, 便積極展開對中國的侵略, 故意製造各種事端, 公然挑釁. In the 16th year after the founding of the Republic of China, the Japanese military officer Tanaka Giichi** formed a cabinet, and took control of Japan. From that time [Japan] was a continual threat to China, and the [Japanese] manufactured various "incidents" and publicly provoked [the Chinese state].
先總統 蔣公深深明白 "攘外必先安內" 的道理, 因此, 積極致力於國內的統一於安定. The first President, Chiang Kai-shek, deeply understood the importance of "first achieving domestic [internal] tranquility before dealing with external threats." For this reason he actively pursued domestic stability.***
在政府軍的努力下, 到了民國二十四年, 共黨勢力已被大為削弱, 國內逐漸呈現穩定狀態. Thanks to the efforts of the military, in the 24th year of the Republic of China, the strength of the communist party was greatly diminished, and the domestic situation slowly stabilized.
不料, 民國二十五年十二月, 西安駐軍將領張學良, 楊虎城受到共黨的煽動, 竟挾持當時的軍事委員長 蔣中正先生, 並提出聯合蘇俄, 容納共黨, 推翻政府等八項極為荒謬的主張. 政府軍立即派兵北上征伐, 雙方僵持不下, 但在同時, 和平營救的努力也不斷在進行著. In December of the 25th year of the Republic of China, the generals Jang Shui-liang and Yang Hu-cheng of the Xian Garrison somehow fell under the sway of the communists, and they held Generalissimo Chiang kai-shek prisoner for some time. They wanted to align with Soviet Russia, and make accommodations to the communist party. They wanted to overthrow [the KMT] government, and put forward eight absurd claims. The government then ordered troops north to oppose them, and the two sides fought to a standstill. At the same time, efforts at peacemaking were ongoing.
最後, 在宋子文等人的奔走勸導, 及張學良看了 蔣委員長的日記及文件後, 終於良知發現, 親自護送 蔣委員長回南京. 那一天, 正是民國二十五年的十二月二十五日. In the end Song Dze-wen and others came to the rescue, and after seeing Generalissimo Chiang's diaries and other writings Jang Shui-liang finally came to his senses and personally escorted Generalissimo Chiang back to Nanjing. The day [of Chiang Kai-shek's arrival in Nanjing] was December 25, during the 25th year of the Republic of China.
由於 蔣委員長的脫險, 才得以在次年領導抗戰, 復興中華; 因此, 後來政府便定那天為民族復興節. Thanks to the Generalissimo Chiang's escape from danger, during the following year he was able to lead the battle to recapture China [from the Japanese]. Afterward the government declared this day National Revival Day.
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*This is NOT an official holiday now. It previously fell on the same day as Taiwan's Constitution Day 行憲紀念日AND Christmas, but you won't find it on any recent calendars. I already translated the entry for Constitution Day and you can read it here. Christmas? I think we're all familiar with the story!
**The description "military officer" diminishes him quite a bit. He became Prime Minister in 1927, or year 16 according to the Republic of China calendar. The Republic of China/National Calendar (國曆) began with the founding of the Republic of China in 1911. Just subtract 1911 from any subsequent date and that's the date on the National Calendar.
***Which included ordering the murder of suspected communists and other political opponents. He wasn't the nice, selfless guy this entry would lead you to believe. He's often criticized for pillaging southern China while the Japanese were overtaking the north. He received his military training in Japan and he dabbled in fascism early on.