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Massacre victims honored on National Memorial Day

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The Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre by the Japanese Invaders is the site of the main National Memorial Day ceremony on Saturday. As our reporter Lin Nan tells us, it has become the gathering point for people around the world to remember the victims and pray for peace.

A family shattered by an unspeakable tragedy. 91-year-old Jiang Jinzhu lost her two brothers during the Nanjing Massacre in 1937.

It has become a family tradition to come to the Memorial Hall every December. But this year will be the first time the entire country mourns the tragedy together with a National Memorial Day.

"It is important that more people in the country and the world are aware of this massacre and commemorate the victims. I know an old couple who lost their only son in the massacre. Who will remember this family and its suffering after they are gone?" Wu Daolong, Nephew Of Nanjing Massacre Victim, said.

The Memorial Hall was established in 1985 in an area of southwestern Nanjing called Jiangdongmen, which was one of the execution grounds and mass burial sites during the massacre. This square became the grave for 10,000 corpses. Some of the excavated bones were stored in this coffin-shaped building when the hall was still under construction. ‍Memorial sculptures and stones have bee erected to reflect the suffering and resistance of Nanjing residents during the Japanese occupation.

Here is a list of the Nanjing Massacre victim from 30 families. Their names are engraved on the wall, and will be remembered. But there are hundreds of thousands of un-named victims. And the National Memorial Day set on December 13th is for making sure that the more than 300,000 Chinese killed will be always commemorated.

Candles are lit all day long in the meditation hall, where visitors can remember and pray for the victims. But peace and atonement are also major themes in the memorial. This monument was built by a Japanese man as a symbol of apology for the crimes committed by the Japanese invaders. Another 30-meter-high statue shows a mother holding a dove of peace in her palm and children longing for peace.

77 years have passed since the atrocity, and Nanjing has become a peaceful and beautiful place again. The neighborhood of the memorial hall is now a busy office and residential area. History is the guide for the future. Only by remembering it, can peace be cherished and preserved by the generations to come.

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