September 3, 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of victory in the Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the end of the Second World War.
Official commemorative activities ended with a solemn ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Saturday morning during which President Hu Jintao delivered a keynote speech.
Over 300 WWII veterans and their families from 22 countries attended the commemoration ceremony at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Xie Yuan, a press official of the organizing committee said on Saturday afternoon.
Many of them and their Chinese counterparts were awarded special medals.
A total of seven Canadians attended the ceremony in the morning, representing three families including Henry Norman Bethune (1890-1939) and James G. Endicott (1898-1993). All three had fought alongside China in the war against Japan in the 1930s and 40s.
Stephen Endicott, the second son of James G. Endicott, still remembers the bombing of Chongqing, China’s wartime capital.
“I was just a boy during the anti-Japanese war. We lived in Chongqing. There are four children in our family. When we left to return to Canada, about 7,000 Japanese bombers had practically destroyed the city,” he recalled at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
James G. Endicott, a missionary in the United Church of Canada, was born in China where he lived for 35 years. During China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), he was appointed advisor to Chiang Kai-shek and served as a secret intelligence agent to maintain contact between the US military and the Communist Party of China.
“The mission colleagues didn’t approve of his taking part in the Chinese fight. They said it was not the program, but he decided that he should stick to his principles. He was willing to go against the tide for his principles,” Endicott commented.
Scott Davidson, the manager of Bethune Memorial House, now a National Historic Site of Canada, was pleased to attend the ceremony.
Davidson was honored to know that Bethune is still remembered in China, 63 years after his death. About 20,000 people visit the Bethune Memorial House every year. Two thirds of them are Canadian Chinese and some from the Chinese mainland.
Davidson, in his thirties, was introduced to WWII history through his research on Bethune. He said that he was deeply impressed after speaking with many of the WWII veterans. “Certainly, my generation still honor and respect these people,” he said.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Tang Fuchun September 4, 2005)