War he­roes should never be in­sulted

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

An on­line de­bate on war he­roes has di­vided Chi­nese ne­ti­zens. A re­cent post on Si­naWeibo, a Twit­ter-like so­cial net­work tool, mocked Qiu Shaoyun, a Chi­nese sol­dier who died in a fire dur­ing the­War to Re­sist US Ag­gres­sion and Aid Korea (1950-1953), as “roast meat”. And some even said the story aboutHuang Jiguang tak­ing a hail of bul­lets to pro­tect his fel­low sol­diers is “false”.

The spread of such slan­der on the In­ter­net shows some peo­ple have lit­tle re­spect for the dead; worse, they de­fame he­roes who sac­ri­ficed their lives for the coun­try.

The tra­di­tion of re­spect­ing war he­roes has a spir­i­tual ba­sis; it is equally im­por­tant for a ris­ing China and its peo­ple. Wars may not be some­thing to be proud of, the world to­day is ba­si­cally in peace com­pared with the past, but that doesn’t mean the ef­forts and sac­ri­fices of war he­roes in the ser­vice of the coun­try are any less im­por­tant.

A coun­try can make newheroes only if it pays trib­ute to the ones in the past. The Du Fen­grui air force brigade, named af­ter a pi­lot who sac­ri­ficed his life in 1958, has been hold­ing oath-tak­ing cer­e­monies be­fore his statue for the past four decades or more.

In­spired by this tra­di­tion, a num­ber of the brigade’s mem­bers have be­come out­stand­ing role mod­els for oth­ers, such as NieHaisheng, crew­com­man­der of the land­mark Shen­zhou X manned space mission in 2013, which at that time was the long­est of its kind in China.

In a coun­try full of he­roes, show­ing un­con­di­tional re­spect to them is the least one can do. China has been do­ing ex­actly that as gov­ern­ments at all lev­els are mak­ing more ef­forts to com­mem­o­rate mar­tyrs— from col­lect­ing their re­mains and ren­o­vat­ing their tombs to rais­ing their pen­sions. Also, war he­roes’ chil­dren tak­ing the col­lege en­trance exam have lower cri­te­ria— lower than usual scores, for ex­am­ple— to get into uni­ver­si­ties.

China is not the only coun­try that hon­ors its wartime he­roes. Many streets in Rus­sia are named af­ter it­sWorldWar II he­roes, and many newly weds still choose to lay a wreath on mar­tyrs’ tombs. With­out the sac­ri­fice of more than 20 mil­lion peo­ple, the Soviet Union would not have won the Great Pa­tri­oticWar against Nazi Ger­many and its al­lies.

The United States, on its part, has two ser­vice­men­re­lated hol­i­days— Me­mo­rial Day at the end ofMay to honor the Amer­i­cans who lost their lives in wars and Vet­er­ans Day onNov 11. From the US fed­eral gov­ern­ment to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, many or­ga­nize com­mem­o­ra­tive events on th­ese two hol­i­days.

In short, war he­roes will keep inspiring peo­ple from all walks of life and their mem­ory should never be in­sulted. The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor at the Na­tional De­fense Uni­ver­sity of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army.

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