Relatives of many of the 52 Chinese air force officers and soldiers who gave their lives during World War II have finally found their last resting place – and are visiting the US during the current Qingming Festival.
The Chinese were part of a little-known force that joined US forces to fight after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.
The fate of those who died was discovered after Li An, a Chinese Canadian, visited the 52 Chinese Air Force tombstones at Brisbane National Cemetery at the border between the United States and Mexico.
For countless days, they have rested there without any visits from their descendants – until Li An arrived to see where her second uncle Li Jiahe is buried.
Li Jiahe, a student during World War II, decided to join the Chinese Air Force in response to an recruitment advertisement by the air force coalition, formed by the US and China after the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Li's parents had looked forward to his return and were crushed when they found out about his death. However, they did not know where his grave was until, after years of searching, Li's descendant finally found his gravestone and paid homage to this air force hero.
During her visit, Li An noticed that there were 52 tombstones of Chinese Air Force without any homage from their relatives. This made her determined to find their offspring for those young people who had sacrificed their lives on American soil to bring peace.
Li An and Hunan Longyue Center for Peace and Public Welfare Development then tracked down the families of 21 pilots of the 52 Chinese Air Force soldiers. They have been advised where their ancestors are and will fly across the Pacific to pay homage to them during the Qingming festival, China's day of honouring ancestors and commemorating deceased family members and relatives.
Though they lived on the opposite bank of the Pacific, the 52 families of these heroes never gave up hoping to find their missing loved ones.
For many, the family reunion will now finally take place.
Content sourced from the People's Daily Online here