SAN FRANCISCO - The city of Dublin in the US San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday honored the historical contributions of the American Flying Tigers who fought invading Japanese troops in China during World War II (WWII).
The commemorative event, co-hosted by the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, paid tribute to members of the First American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers, especially for their first victorious battle in China on Dec 20, 1941, when they shot down six of 10 Japanese bombers over Kunming, Yunnan province in Southwest China without losing any of their own.
The Flying Tigers' first triumph in China came 13 days after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which was also commemorated at Saturday's event.
Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Wang Donghua said the Chinese people will not forget the members of the Flying Tigers who fought together with them to resist the invasion of China by Japanese troops.
"Their heroic combats made important contributions to the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japan and to the world's anti-fascist war at large," Wang said.
Dublin Mayor David Haubert told Xinhua that the event happened on "a great day" to celebrate the legend of the Flying Tigers at the Livermore Airport in California, and that people are remembering them for how they saved the world and helped China defeat the Japanese invaders.
"When we remember the past and how closely we fought together as brothers side by side, that helps us remember how we can be like that again today," Haubert added.
Windsor Buzza, commanding general of the 91st Training Division of the US Army Reserve, said the first triumphant combat of the Flying Tigers in China dealt a far earlier and quicker blow than the Japanese had thought the US and Chinese troops were capable of.
He stressed that what the US and Chinese forces were able to achieve by cooperating together is a very good lesson for the two countries today.
"There's much more that can be gained together by cooperation and a cooperative spirit than there can be through competition or conflict," he said.
Harry Moyer, a 99-year-old veteran Flying Tigers member, recalled his war career including his bombing missions against Japan during WWII, saying it is "rewarding" to think the spirit of the Flying Tigers still continues as an inspiration.
"The spirit of the Flying Tigers bolstered the connection between the people of America and China and also between the two countries," he said.