In­va­sion re­mem­bered

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Over­seas Chi­nese, World War II vet­er­ans and the de­scen­dants of a Fly­ing Tigers pi­lot on Tues­day com­mem­o­rated the 78th an­niver­sary of the July 7 In­ci­dent in 1937, which marked the start of China’s eight-year re­sis­tance against Ja­panese ag­gres­sion.

More than 100 peo­ple gath­ered in San Ma­teo, Cal­i­for­nia, to re­call the Chi­nese peo­ple’s ar­du­ous fight against Ja­pan’s in­va­sion and wit­nessed the count­down cer­e­mony of the open­ing of the WWII Pa­cific War Me­mo­rial Hall, con­sid­ered the first and only one of its kind out­side China.

Since the July 7 In­ci­dent in 1937, also called the Marco Polo Bridge In­ci­dent, more than 35 mil­lion Chi­nese were killed by the Ja­panese Im­pe­rial Army. Dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the in­ci­dent, all the par­tic­i­pants rose and paid silent trib­ute to those killed.

“The war is cruel,” said Florence Fang, chair­woman of the Florence Fang Fam­ily Foun­da­tion and a phi­lan­thropist in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area and be­yond.

She showed the guests two photos: an Amer­i­can fa­ther bury­ing his 19-year-old son who was killed in World War II, and a Ja­panese soldier who was ready to die for the war like “fall­ing blos­soms” from a cherry tree.

She said the war not only in­flicted suf­fer­ing on China but also de­stroyed the fab­ric of other coun­tries.

“The aim of es­tab­lish­ing the Me­mo­rial Hall is to re­spect history and cher­ish peace,” said Fang, also the hall’s cu­ra­tor. “If we don’t re­spect history, we can’t have jus­tice in the world.”

The 5,000-square-foot hall is sched­uled to open to the public on Aug 15, the 70th an­niver­sary of the end of the Si­noJa­panese War.

“The mu­seum is not only aimed to tell the mis­ery and suf­fer­ing of the Chi­nese peo­ple dur­ing the war, but also to fo­cus on their for­ti­tude and tenac­ity to fight against ag­gres­sion,” Fang said. “We also want to re­mind peo­ple that China and the US stood to­gether to achieve the shared vic­tory.”

Larry Jobe, pres­i­dent of the Fly­ing Tigers His­tor­i­cal Or­ga­ni­za­tion, who shot down a Ja­panese plan, was hon­ored with a Fly­ing Tigers pi­lot jacket and a $500 gift cer­tifi­cate.

“Florence’s vi­sion, cou­pled with her lead­er­ship and pas­sion, will en­sure the world knows the com­plete history of how the peo­ple of China and Amer­ica, fight­ing and dy­ing side by side, de­feated the in­vad­ing Ja­panese dur­ing World War II,” he said.

Jobe said that the Fly­ing Tigers group would part­ner with Me­mo­rial Hall and work to in­crease aware­ness of the spe­cial re­la­tions that ex­isted be­tween the Chi­nese and Amer­i­can peo­ples dur­ing the war.

The com­pleted mu­seum is ex­pected to fea­ture five ex­hi­bi­tions, cov­er­ing the preJa­panese in­va­sion pe­riod of 1931 to 1937; the Chi­nese peo­ple’s re­sis­tance on their own terms from 1937 to 1941; the US in­volve­ment from 1942 to 1945; the friend­ship be­tween China and the US dur­ing the war; and the pa­tri­o­tism of over­seas Chi­nese.

A scale model of the Zhong­shan War­ship, a gun­boat that sank with Chi­nese sol­diers on deck dur­ing a Ja­panese bomb­ing in 1938, was do­nated to Me­mo­rial Hall by the Zhong­shan War­ship Mu­seum in Hubei province.

More wartime ar­ti­facts are be­ing shipped from China to the hall in San Fran­cisco, ac­cord­ing to Fang.

“We hope the Me­mo­rial Hall will be­come a sym­bol of over­seas Chi­nese pa­tri­o­tism and show the world the vic­tory of the Chi­nese peo­ple at the sac­ri­fice of their own lives, as well as their con­tri­bu­tion to the world’s anti-fas­cist ef­forts,” said Luo Lin­quan, Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in San Fran­cisco.

LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Florence Fang (cen­ter), chair­woman of the Florence Fang Fam­ily Foun­da­tion and cu­ra­tor of the WWII Pa­cific War Me­mo­rial Hall, and Luo Lin­quan (third from left), Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral to San Fran­cisco, join spe­cial guests, in­clud­ing vet­er­ans from the WWII and a de­scen­dant of a Fly­ing Tigers Pi­lot, at an event held on Tues­day in San Ma­teo in mem­ory of the July 7 In­ci­dent in 1937.

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