Over 100 American veteran pilots of the Second World War and their relatives gathered in Beijing Wednesday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of China's victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the victory of the world's anti-Fascist war.
"We feel we have contribute something to the history of China and it's really been a great deal for all of us to come back once more, " Alfred J. Gardner, a pilot of the US Flying Tigers, said in an interview with Xinhua.
Gardner said he has prepared for the "emotional moment" for 60 years, but when the moment really comes, he found himself speechless to express his excitement.
Sixty years ago, he flew over the "Hump," the dangerous Himalayan route between India and China, to transport war supplies to aid China's war of resistance against Japanese aggression.
John R. Rossi, one of the 20 aces of the Flying Tigers, kept a record of 750 flights over the Hump Route, was impressed by the hospitality from Chinese people.
"The Chinese people are so friendly and so thankful, because we fought on their side against the Japanese invaders," Rossi said, noting that he will never forget the land he had fought in.
China's former President Li Xiannian's daughter Li Xiaolin, now the vice chairwoman of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, met for the first time with former Captain of the 23rd Frighter Group's 76th Fighter Squadron Glen Beneda, whose life was saved by her father in a plane crash during the war.
"I was shot down by the Japanese fighters and crashed in the mountains, but fortunately I was found by the Chinese people and well looked after by General Li," Beneda recalled.
Tears in eyes and hands shaking tightly, Li Xiaolin was very touched to witness the friendship between his father and Beneda.
"Chinese people will never forget the great contributions you have made, especially many of you already dedicated lives to the peace of this land," Li said to Beneda and other veteran US soldiers, adding that she will tell the story to her son so as to help carry on the relationship and friendship from generation to generation.
(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2005)