LIFE WITHOUT LEGS
Disasters aren't only a story of life and death. Another group survived the quake, but at great costs.
Yang Huabing, 56, was the headmaster of the Dongbei Middle School in Mianzhu. He was buried in debris for nearly 20 hours before being rescued.
Before he could celebrate his survival, he realized he couldn't feel anything in either leg.
"The doctors tested my legs with needles and a hammer, but I just couldn't feel any pain," he said.
When doctors asked him if he agreed to amputation, he nodded tearfully.
At first, life for Yang was difficult without legs.
"I even couldn't turn over without the help of others," he said, adding that if he wanted to relieve himself, he had to ask someone to prepare a pot for him.
"I became upset and sad, thinking of suicide from time to time," he admitted.
His wife, whose hair seemed to turn gray in one month, tried her best to encourage him.
Volunteer Xu Liangang, who is also handicapped, later brought hope to Yang.
"He told me that without my legs I could live just as well. If I frown every day, I will bring my wife and other relatives more agony," Yang said.
Since then, the man drafted a daily four-hour exercise plan for himself. At first, the artificial limb sometimes hurt his flesh, but he managed to walk upstairs in just five weeks.
"It is useless to sigh in agony," he said. "Man has to face the future any way."
Yang and his wife could live on their old age pension, but he prefers to keep himself busy by doing household chores and practicing calligraphy.
"Someone suggested selling my calligraphy online and I want to have a try," he said.
According to a survey by the Disabled Persons' Federation of Sichuan Province, the Sichuan earthquake left a total of 5,756 people handicapped.
"Like the phoenix which gains rebirth in the fire, people should embark on a new journey," wrote Liu Qibao, secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in an article.
The article was published by the People's Daily on Thursday.
In the article, he reviewed the past three years' achievements in reconstruction.
"During these three years, quakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan reminded us of the debris and bereavement we saw in Sichuan," he wrote.
"On this very occasion, three years after the quake, let us once again mourn for the dead, and send our good wishes to the living."