Salute to WWII heroes

Updated: 2014-05-16 11:43

(China Daily USA)

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The Flying Tigers, a volunteer group of American pilots who helped China fight Japan in WWII, is one of the most familiar and respected names among the Chinese, so it came as no surprise that the visiting Chinese General Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, wanted to meet them and their families.

The meeting took place on Thursday morning at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington and included not just 90-year-old Flying Tigers veteran Jay Vinyard, but also Nell Calloway, granddaughter of Claire Lee Chennault, commander of the Flying Tigers. Chennault is widely known in China by his Chinese name, Chen Nade, which is also on his tombstone at Arlington National Cemetery.

Several family members of General Joseph Stilwell, who led the China-Burma-India Theater during the WWII, were also present.

Fang told guests that he was so excited to see them. "The Chinese people will never forget those who made all the outstanding contributions during the war, who fought fascism, who sacrificed their lives and were never able to come back home," Fang said.

China has established memorials and institutes in commemoration of the Flying Tigers. "We have invited soldiers and relatives to visit China," Fang said.

Fang said people should not let that period of history of tragedy repeat itself.

On behalf of all the Flying Tigers, Vinyard thanked General Fang for his goodwill. He appreciated the work by the Chinese in commemorating the Flying Tigers who lost their lives during the war.

Chen Weihua and Liu Chang China Daily

(China Daily USA 05/16/2014 page1)