BEIJING, Sept. 3 -- As white doves flew across a
bright sky and over a tranquil lake next to the wall, Chen Hong never felt a
stronger connection with her grandmother.
Chen is the granddaughter of Zhao Yiman, the legendary heroine who fought in China's northeast and was
captured and executed by Japanese occupation forces. She joined more than 200
World War II veterans and their family members from 22 countries in a ceremony
on Friday afternoon commemorating the "60th anniversary of the victory of the
Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist
The ceremony featured the unveiling of a wall 60
metres long and 60 steps high in Beijing's Chaoyang Park.
The wall, officially known as the Beijing Peace
Monument, was the brainchild of Chinese and American veteran groups and funded
from private donations worldwide.
"Our forefathers gave their lives for peace and
freedom. Our generation has the responsibility to treasure what we have today,"
Some words inscribed on the wall in Chinese, English,
Russian, French and Spanish read: "Yesterday we served in the armed forces. We
are survivors. Tomorrow, for our children, grandchildren, and for coming
generations, we express our hope: Love life and cherish peace."
David N. Ozuna, another participant in the ceremony, was 23
years old in 1944-45 when he flew the Hump 25 times. He recalled the dangerous
missions flying supplies to Kunming amidst thunderstorms and occasional Japanese
"It's wonderful that China remembers us. Not a lot of
students in the United States are taught about the Hump," he said.
When asked about any lessons from his war experience,
he thought for a moment and said: "War is a lousy way to settle differences. We
should never fight another one."
Among the large crowd, two elderly participants stood
out in uniforms of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Force, their old army flag
unfurled behind them. One of them, 82-year-old Li Min, was enthusiastically
greeting old comrades and their children.
"Peace does not come cheap," she said, when asked
about her feelings about the war. "It took 35 million Chinese lives. We should
Akie Kato was a teenager during the war. She
represented Japanese veterans when she signed the Beijing Peace Declaration on
Friday. Her husband was captured by Chinese forces in 1940 and later joined an
anti-war alliance organized by Japanese, fighting on the Chinese side in 1945
and even helping the People's Liberation Army in liberating the Northeast.
"Peace and justice are what we fought for," she said.
"The war caused catastrophe to both the Chinese and Japanese peoples. The value
of peace is immeasurable."
(Source: China Daily)