Nanjing, a city ravaged by the Japanese invasion, in east China's Jiangsu Province, will be the location for the world's first memorial hall for aviators who fought in the Chinese War of Resistance Against Japan. The plan is to build the memorial in 2007.
Wang Jian, vice president of the Nanjing Aviators Association, on Wednesday described the construction plan to a group of veterans, the "V60 Tracking the History of the American Flying Tiger" delegation, including 15 former American "Flying Tiger" pilots.
The delegation toured battlegrounds where the "American Flying Tiger" volunteers helped the Chinese fight the Japanese invaders during World War II.
Wang said that the memorial hall, covering a floor space of 2,500 square meters, will commemorate the heroic deeds of aviators from the former Soviet Union Volunteer Air Force, American Volunteer Air Force (known as "American Flying Tigers") and the Chinese Air Force.
The memorial hall will be built next to the existing Cemetery and Monument to the Aviator Martyrs in the War of Resistance Against Japan.
The Nanjing Memorial Cemetery was built in 1930s, and is the resting place of more than 3,000 pilots from China, the former Soviet Union and the United States. The Monument was erected at the northern foot of Purple Mountain in 1995.
The 65-member delegation paid a visit to the cemetery on Wednesday. Jack Coombs, an 81-year-old former "Flying Tiger" was excited at the news of the memorial hall, saying that he was willing to make a donation.
The delegation arrived Nanjing after a three-day trip to Guilin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They will depart for Shanghai on Friday, the final stop of their China tour.
On August 1,1941, American Volunteer Group (AVG), nicknamed Flying Tigers afterwards, was formed. On December 20, they downed six Japanese bombers and damaged four.
In the ensuing half year, the Flying Tigers fought more than 100 air battles, shooting down 272 enemy aircraft and destroying another 225 on the ground.
(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2005)