Two of the 85 US veterans invited to China by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII spoke of their experiences to the press on Thursday in Beijing.
"I appreciate the Chinese government's invitation for us to come back to China again, said 90-year-old John R. Rossi, one of the 20 Flying Tigers aces and president of the Flying Tigers Association. He made a record 750 flights over the Hump Route and shot down seven Japanese aircraft.
David Hayward, 83, who was once a bomber fighter in the 10th and 14th Air Force, said "During the wartime, we depended highly on the Chinese people. They built our airfields, supplied us with food and stood guard for our airplanes. They even built a warning system called 'Chinese net" to help warn of Japanese aircraft."
"The Chinese people were also very grateful for our fighting against the Japanese troops on their side. They came to us with fruit and flowers which were hard to get at that time and offered their thanks to us," said Rossi.
"Chinese and American people are friendly to each other. We are smart enough to avoid wars in the future," said Hayward.
He said China and the US have been getting along well in recent years and trade and visits such as this would help further enhance their relationship.
"Peace is above all. People can cooperate regardless of their backgrounds. Goals should and can be achieved by peaceful means," Hayward said.
Both Rossi and Hayward expressed their amazement at China's recent development.
The veterans came to China over sixty years ago to help the Chinese people fight the Japanese invasion.
Some are members of the renowned American Volunteer Group, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, and flew over the Hump Route to carry military and civilian materials to the Chinese army and people.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Yuan Fang, September 3, 2005)