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Thursday, September 3, 2015, 12:30

Veterans lead China's V-Day parade

By Xinhua
Veterans lead China's V-Day parade

Veterans in a phalanx attend a parade in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 3, 2015. China on Thursday held commemoration activities, including a grand military parade, to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. (Xinhua / Jin Liwang)

The veterans with an average age of 90, riding in convertibles in formation, represented the counter-aggression forces led by both the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang (KMT).

The crowd applauded as vehicles carrying more than 100 war veterans, wearing uniforms decorated with medals, passed through Tian'anmen Square.

It was the first time for the veterans to attend such a grand military show and that could be the last they witness. Many veterans expressed their pleasure at having been invited to take part.

Fu Longqian, a 92-year-old former KMT soldier, was among the veterans at the ceremony.

"The country didn't forget us and it's a very high courteous reception," said the former artillerist who braved the gunfire of significant battles, including the Changsha Battle, the most time-consuming one between the KMT army and Japanese invaders that had seen the largest-scale troops from both sides.

"It's the most memorable experience to fight against Japanese aggressors in my life," he added.

Ninety-five-year-old Zhang Yuanhe, in grey military uniform specially made for the parade, was gratified at the invitation.

"It's a great honor," said Zhang who joined the CPC-led Red Army as early as the age of 15.

The KMT veteran representatives were selected from those who had fought with Japanese troops in front-line battlefields of Shanxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou, while their CPC counterparts are veterans from the Eighth Route Army, New Fourth Army, Northeast United Resistance Army and South China Guerrillas.

The veterans all live on the Chinese mainland, according to Qu Rui, deputy director of the Office of the Parade Leading Team.

To ensure their good health, local civil affairs departments had every veteran go through general physical examination ahead of the celebration and dispatched medical staff alongside.

Veterans lead China's V-Day parade

Veterans in a phalanx attend a parade in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 3, 2015. China on Thursday held commemoration activities, including a grand military parade, to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chin ese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. (Xinhua / Xue Yubin)

"At such a grand event, we should not forget those who fought for the nation and paved the way for the peaceful days we enjoy today," said Peng Guangqian, deputy secretary-general of the Council for National Security Policy Studies.

"The invitation of veterans to such a military parade is an opportunity to pay our tribute to them, and also can inspire younger generations to forge ahead," Peng said.

The decision to include KMT veterans in the celebration was lauded by observers for the CPC's inclusive and open view of history. The KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the CPC.

"The parade sent a message that anyone who dedicated their lives to the nation will be remembered, and those who braved dangers to save the nation will be honored," said Qiao Liang, a professor with the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.

Apart from war veterans, the two formations in vehicles also include sons and daughters of fallen soldiers from the CPC and KMT, and outstanding members of forces that supported the front line.

Japan invaded northeast China in September 1931, followed by a full-scale aggression that started on July 7, 1937 when the famous Lugou Bridge, or Marco Polo Bridge, a crucial access point to Beijing, was attacked.

During Japan's aggression, 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded on the eastern battlefield of the World Anti-Fascist War.

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