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US exhibit commemorates Flying Tigers

Updated: 2015-08-04 07:40
By Ren Qi in New York (China Daily)

A US exhibition on Yunnan province and the Flying Tigers provides a boost to cultural exchanges between China and the United States, and it helps people remember the days when US volunteers helped China fight the Japanese invaders, a senior official of the Chinese consulate general in New York said on Sunday.

Li Liyan, cultural counselor of the consulate general, said that by holding the exhibition, US citizens and Chinese alike can look back at that part of history and treasure their happy lives now.

The exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and World War II was organized by the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, the Yunnan Flying Tigers Research Institute and other groups. It has been to several US cities since July and opened in New York City's Chinatown on Sunday.

In December 1941, US volunteer pilots known as the Flying Tigers started to help China repulse the Japanese invasion. Starting in 1943, the Flying Tigers also flew over the Himalayas, helping ship strategic materials from India to China to help the Chinese break through the Japanese defense lines. The Flying Tigers left China in 1944.

Dan Petach, a 71-year-old US citizen, came to the exhibition with a Flying Tigers jacket. He said his uncle, Johnnie Petach, joined the US navy during World War II, became a member of the Flying Tigers and went to China.

Johnnie Petach was born on July 15, 1918, during the closing months of World War I. He was a high-ranking ace pilot among the Flying Tigers and shot down three enemy bombers on Jan 23, 1942.

"Actually, thanks to this extraordinary adventure, my uncle met his wife on the way to China, since my aunt worked as a nurse in China, and soon they got married," Petach said.

"To commemorate what my uncle did in China, I decided to donate this jacket to China."

The exhibition showed some gear used during the war, including telephones, military equipment and personal belongings.

The organizers of the exhibition said the Flying Tigers were a splendid example of US aid to China during the war.

"We are holding the exhibition to display the blood-forged military friendship between the Flying Tigers and Chinese soldiers and civilians, to emphasize the power of Sino-American cooperation," organizers said in a statement.

The show was also supported by the Yunnan government, since the southwestern province was called the second hometown of the US Flying Tigers.


(China Daily 08/04/2015 page3)

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