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HomeLatestAcross China: Chinese museum preserves enduring legacy of Flying Tigers

Across China: Chinese museum preserves enduring legacy of Flying Tigers

by Xinhua writers Cheng Lu and Tong Fang

CHENGDU, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) — Even 78 years after the tip of World War II (WWII), the heroic story of the Flying Tigers lives on properly in a non-public museum in China.

It was a particular fight group, comprised of a gaggle of American volunteer pilots, who got here to China over 80 years in the past to assist the Chinese drive out invading Japanese troops.

To commemorate the Flying Tigers and different American servicemen who assisted China throughout WWII, Fan Jianchuan, who was as soon as an entrepreneur, arrange the Hall of the Heroes of the Flying Tigers in Anren Town in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Shaped like a warship, the exhibition corridor covers an space of 1,506 sq. meters and is a part of the Jianchuan Museum, China’s largest non-public museum cluster. Fan can be the curator of this museum.

Upon coming into, guests are captivated by a distinguished characteristic: a wall totally adorned with ceramic plaques displaying pictures of the 248 pilots who served within the Flying Tigers squad, every picture capturing their youthful visages.

Introducing the displayed gadgets, Fan emphasised the profound that means behind establishing a commemorative museum.

According to Fan, greater than 500 fighter planes from the Flying Tigers, together with over 500 transport planes alongside the well-known “Hump” air route, crashed throughout WWII, and over 4,000 American troopers sacrificed their lives in China.

“The deep friendship forged between the Chinese and American people during their joint struggle against Japanese fascism should not be forgotten,” he mentioned.

The Hall of the Heroes of the Flying Tigers options over 2,000 reveals starting from plane wreckage to the huge stone rollers utilized by the Chinese to construct army airfields and images capturing the moments when Chinese residents got here to the rescue of downed American pilots.

Each merchandise serves as a vessel of distinctive historic tales.

One distinguished exhibit is the wreckage of a C-87 transport airplane. This aircraft was flown throughout WWII by American pilots tasked with transporting items alongside the “Hump” air route over the Himalayas, a vital channel in China’s wartime logistics system.

The wreckage was found on a glacier in Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, at an altitude of over 4,000 meters. Just exterior the corridor stands a silver memorial plaque inscribed with the names of the 5 American troopers who perished within the aircraft crash.

In October 2015, China handed over the stays of American pilots to the United States. “In order to uncover the history of the ‘Hump’ route and allow the mortal remains of these heroes to return to their homeland, the search team braved life-threatening conditions as they traversed glaciers in remote areas at altitudes of 5,000 meters,” Fan mentioned.

Over the years, quite a few American veterans, a lot of them aged and a few even in wheelchairs, have visited the exhibition corridor.

“The fighter pilot emblems they proudly wear on their chests tell me that they are among the bravest individuals in the world,” Fan mentioned.

When the Hall of the Heroes of the Flying Tigers opened on Aug. 15, 2005, Robert Gruber, an aged veteran, visited the corridor. Upon listening to that the exhibition showcased gadgets associated to WWII American troopers, he was moved to tears.

Shortly after returning to the United States, Gruber handed away. Nevertheless, his private belongings donated to the museum stay on show. These gadgets embrace a portrait of him in his youth in army apparel and a cherished {photograph} of his girlfriend, which was stored in a body constituted of the wreckage of Japanese planes.

Over the previous 18 years, the corridor has welcomed 7.2 million guests who’ve left quite a few messages. “May the people of China and the United States always remember history and cherish peace,” reads a notice from a Chinese customer.

Before the eightieth anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War in 2025, Fan plans to go to extra veterans and their descendants within the United States and collect extra artifacts.

He mentioned he would additionally proceed the seek for American plane wreckage from WWII in China.

“Though the gun smoke of WWII has long dissipated, it remains our duty to comprehend this episode of history, perpetuate the spirit of the Flying Tigers, promote cooperation and friendship, and better safeguard global peace,” Fan mentioned.