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National events mark anniversary of conflict

By Zhang Yangfei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-08 07:54

A flag-raising ceremony is held during a commemorative event marking the 82nd anniversary of the beginning of nationwide war against Japanese aggression at the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, July 7, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Ceremonies keep spirit of resistance alive decades after war with Japan

Memorial ceremonies were held in many parts of the country on Sunday to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the 1937 outbreak of the full-scale War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

In Beijing, a ceremony took place in front of the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Beijing Party Secretary Cai Qi hosted the event, which was attended by more than 500 representatives of veterans and their relatives, students, soldiers, cadres and members of the public.

Student representatives recited poems about the war-Lugou Bridge Battle and Sing for the Motherland-with a choir singing songs. All representatives later presented floral bouquets and bowed in front of the relief sculpture in the main hall which depicts the nation's solidarity in the resistance.

The museum is staging an exhibition displaying more than 210 photographs and 240 artifacts recording moments in the war as captured in plays, poems, comics, movies and songs.

In July 1937, Japanese troops attacked the Lugou Bridge, also known as Marco Polo Bridge, on the outskirts of Beijing, marking the beginning of Japan's full-scale invasion of China, as well as the beginning of nationwide resistance against Japanese aggression during World War II.

Zheng Fulai, an 88-year-old veteran, has served as a voluntary history guide to visitors to the bridge since 1951.

"Those martyrs are our role models. Remembering them is not to continue the hatred, but to remind us to be strong," he told China Central Television. "The incident bears witness to the history of suffering, but also reflects the great changes in the 70 years since the establishment of the People's Republic of China."

To commemorate the incident and pay tribute to those who fought in the war, memorial events were held in many cities across the country.

The Shanghai Songhu Memorial Hall for the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression held a ceremony on Sunday morning which was attended by more than 300 army commanders, community residents, schoolteachers and students. During the ceremony, the students recited poems and presented baskets of flowers in front of the monument to the unknown heroes to commemorate the martyrs and victims of the war.

Nanjing, where civilians were raped and massacred by Japanese troops, was another city deeply traumatized by the war. The Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders held several events on Sunday in memory of those who sacrificed their lives to protect the people and the country, attended by veterans and primary and secondary school students from various schools in Nanjing.

"I was only 12 years old when the Japanese troops came in the beginning of 1938. People were killed. My sister and I were the only ones who survived in the family," local veteran Wang Sheng told China News Service. "I joined the Eighth Route Army in 1940. Although the war was ruthless, and I was seriously wounded by bombs and became deaf in my right ear, I never flinched and I never regretted."

The Eighth Route Army was an army group under the command of the Communist Party of China that took part in the war of resistance.

Looking at the surrounding school children, Wang said he still remembers his general telling him to go back and liberate his hometown.

"Today I would like to tell you to cherish the peace and study hard," he told some of the children. "The responsibilities of safeguarding the country and maintaining the peace are now handed over to you."

Teachers and guides at the memorial hall also read letters that were written to families left by heroes in the war out loud together.

"These letters make me feel they are not distant heroes but ordinary people who have flesh and blood and feelings," a third-grade student from Nanjing Langyalu Primary School told China News Service. "I respect their sacrifice even more."

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