Some 1,000 people Thursday attended a memorial ceremony to mourn for Wang Wei, a Chinese pilot died in a mid-air collision by a US spy plane with Wang's fighter jet on April 1.
He was posthumously awarded with the title of "Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters."
Navy officers and soldiers, Hainan Provincial leaders, officials from Wang's hometown Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, and people of all walks of life expressed their respect for Wang and grievance over the pilot's death.
Over the past 25 days and nights, Wang's relatives, friends and comrades-in-arms have been hoping for his safe return.
In his ten years' pilot career, Wang flied over 1,000 hours in some 2,000 flights and became a dauntless airman.
During his mission of tracking and monitoring the US reconnaissance plane, Wang kept calm and firm to fulfill his task of safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity.
At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Wang's relatives and comrades-in-arms and other people embarked on a warship, holding his portrait, and steered to the sea area off the Hainan Island, where his fighter jet was crashed by the US plane.
To the funeral music, Wang's wife Ruan Guoqin offered up flowers Wang himself planted during his lifetime.
"Wang Wei, you may rest in peace. I will take more care of our son and educate him to become a useful person to serve the country," Ruan said.
Navy soldiers of Wang's unit expressed the will to follow Wang's heroic deeds to safeguard the country's airspace and waters.
(People's Daily 04/27/2001)