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Daughter of Flying Tiger pays tribute to her father in Yunnan

Updated:2016-02-26 11:31:09   Yunnan Express

Judy presents flowers to pay tribute to her father William Wallace at the burial site in Yunnan Province on Feb.22.

“I am moved! And I really appreciate what China has done for my father.”On Feb. 22-23, Judy was overwhelmed, when she,together with her husband, paid tribute to her father Wallace at the burial site in Yiliang county, China’s Yunnan Province. William Wallace, who died at the age of 25 in a 1944 air strike against Japanese force, was a lieutenant of the Flying Tigers, or American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force.

It took Judy around 30 minutes to walk through a trail connecting the Qingshuitang village and the burial site in Yiliang county. When the Wallace Monument finally came into her sight, Judy burst into tears. “It is the first time that I have ever got so close to my father,” said she. “I have been thinking of my father as a hero, but it is quite beyond me to see so many Chinese also pay tribute to my father.”

The Wallace Monument was built up in February 2006 by a non-governmental organization studying the Sino-US cooperation in World War II, and the building activities were headed by an American Lu Baike and a Chinese Zhou Zuxin. Because they could not get in touch with relatives of Wallace then, the monument was set up in the name of Lu Baike. Since he got in touch with Judy in September 2016, Lu has been busy preparing for Judy’s visit to China.

To make his name familiar to local ears, a Chinese name called Li Shuhua was dedicated to Wallace based on the ranks in the family tree of the Li clan in Yiliang county, according to Li Junhua, a villager who took part in building the monument. Therefore, Wallace can be a member of the Li family in name, and Judy can be Junhua's senior sister by age. “I used to be a soldier, and I fully know peace and happy life usually come to us after heavy sacrifice,” said Li, adding that the tradition of caring the Wallace Monument will be passed down from generation to generation. He also hope that more family members of Judy could visit the Qingshuitang village.

Judy’s visit to Yunnan coincides with the Chinese Lantern Festival. The American couple spent the festival with the villagers and gave some presents to pupils in the village. Judy said that she had little knowledge about Yunnan before. Now, she feels that she has a special bondage with the red land. “I used to be the only child in my family, but now I have more brothers and sisters in Chinese Yunnan.”

The American couple also visited a site of WWII airport in Songming County, where a new airport is under construction. Judy communicated to the workers at the building site and gave them some gifts. “By visiting the historic spots and talking with local people in person, I have got a fuller understanding of my dad. Meanwhile, I am deeply moved by the warm-heartedness of local people and their devotion to protecting the historical site. 

By Liu Ziyu, translated by Wang Shixue 


Keyword:   Judy tribute father Yunnan
Editor: 王世学