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WWII Veterans to Hail Peace in Beijing

More than 200 WWII veterans around the world will gather in Beijing this September to sign a peace declaration marking the 60th anniversary of the victory in World War II.

"Love life and cherish peace are the tenets," said Jiang Beichen, the drafter of the Beijing Declaration for Peace, on Friday.

The veterans, as both witnesses and survivors of the war, are "the most qualified to help us learn more about history," said Jiang.

Numerous declarations for peace have been made to remember the historic events and people who sacrificed themselves for peace, yet none was signed in the name of the veterans. "We have missed something here," he said in an interview with Xinhua.

According to him, this is the first declaration to be signed by WWII veterans. It will be engraved on the 10-meter-high,60-meter-long Peace Wall, located in a park in suburban Beijing, in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The idea was originally proposed by veterans who joined a big Sino-foreign gathering. "The veterans aspire to leave something of their own to future generations," Jiang said.

The Organizing Committee of the Beijing Declaration for Peace was established by Jiang and other volunteers in June 2005 with the main objective of launching the drafting work of a peace declaration in the name of the veterans.

"We exchanged views with relevant veteran organizations in the United States like the Flying Tigers and solicited veterans for their opinions," Jiang said.

Jiang himself was impressed by the warm response from US veterans. "John Rossi, a former pilot of the Flying Tigers, said he would come to sign his name on the declaration even if he were in a wheelchair."

Jiang hoped the declaration could make young people more aware of the significance of peace, and cherish peace and life. The 56-word peace declaration reads:

"Yesterday, we served in the armed forces. Sixty years ago, we experienced the Second World War.

Today, we are the survivors. Sixty years later, we are the last witnesses of that war.

Tomorrow, for our children, grandchildren, and for coming generations, our hope is for better tomorrows.

Here we declare our hopes: "Love life. Cherish peace."

(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2005)

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