About 127 U.S. World War II veterans and their families watched an air battle simulation on Saturday morning in Beijing.
A 20-minute aerobatic performance, which was held at the China Aviation Museum in northern Beijing's Changping District, brought the veterans' memory back to the war they fought 60 years ago in China against the Japanese invaders.
Chinese technicians command 40 miniature planes, which are one eighths of the original aircraft' size and flied at a speed of 80 kms/h, through remote control to simulate an air battle between the Chinese and Japanese air forces during WWII.
The show ended with half of the 40 small fighter planes, particularly produced for the war simulation performance at a cost of nearly 10,000 yuan (about US$1,200) each, being shot down at the background of glaring firelight and huge sound of bombs.
The 127 U.S. veterans, who arrived here on Thursday and Friday, include members of the famous American Volunteer Group that fought in China during the country's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945) and known as the "Flying Tigers."
They also include former U.S. air force pilots who steered cargo-transport planes from southern India to southwestern China via the Himalayas, known as the 500-mile "Hump" route.
More than 650,000 tons of assistance cargoes were shipped to China via the "Hump" route, considered to be one of the most dangerous air routes in World War II, giving a strong boost to China's self-defense war against Japan.
"The show brought me back to the first night I arrived in Kunming (capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province), when the Japanese fighter planes threw so many bombs that some of them even didn't explode after landing on the ground," said an 84-year-old veteran, who gave his name as Wilfred, a ground crew member of the "Flying Tigers".
"We fought back and drove them away soon," said Wilfred.
"That's an unforgettable experience, but now I am just praying for a peaceful world," he said.
Before the show, the veterans were given a medal by the Chinese organizers for the contribution they have made for world peace in the war.
The 127 former service people of the U.S. armed forces will stay in Beijing for about four days and are scheduled to leave on Monday for Kunming, which was a major wartime base for the Flying Tigers to overhaul and maintain their planes.
The US veterans, along with WWII veterans from other parts of the world, will gather in Beijing again next month to sign a peace declaration to mark the 60th anniversary of China's victory against Japanese invasion and the world's victory against fascism.
They will also inaugurate a 60-meter-long Beijing Peace Wall in a park in the suburbs of the Chinese capital. The text of the peace declaration and the names of the veterans will be engraved on the 10-meter-high wall.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2005)