A Walk through Flying Tiger Heritage Park Museum, Guilin, China
The new museum in Guilin is still being completed inside. Let me describe to you what we saw that was finished.
The overall shape of the building, when looking down from above, is in the shape of a handshake with the main rotunda glass dome in the center. The handshake signifies the friendship between the Americans and Chinese. The Dome looks like an Axel signifying the cooperation between the Americans and Chinese. When looking at the building from the front it represents the nose of a P-40 fighter aircraft with the exhaust stacks represented by windows and the shark’s teeth in marble. This signifies the bravery and fearlessness of the Flying Tigers. The handshake is in the form of “V” symbolizing the final victory over the Japanese.
We entered a very well appointed large room for receiving dignitaries and important guest. This is the room where Vice Premiere Liu Yandong received various Chinese dignitaries and the Flying Tiger Historical Organization board members at the beginning of dedication ceremonies. A secondary, smaller room, is beautifully decorated and appointed for holding interviews with the press and media. There are pictures of both rooms on our web site.
The museum itself has several smaller rooms which allow a flow from one to the next where artifacts and history will be displayed, most likely in chronological order. There is a room for a library and archival information. Large windows and doors permit lots of light to penetrate.
The main entry is into the rotunda which sits beneath the large glass dome. The rotunda has a brass bas-relief around about half the wall space depicting scenes from WW II of the Flying Tigers, General Chennault and the Chinese.
The Flying Tiger Historical Organization has requested that the main rotunda house a sculpture depicting a Flying Tiger pilot being carried on a stretcher by Chinese villagers and protected by Chinese soldiers. The inscription on the sculpture will read “Safe in the Hands of Friends”. That scene was repeated many times over the course of the war as the Chinese rescued downed airmen.
Considering that the Japanese offered a huge reward for turning over a Flying Tiger to them, that they routinely tortured and killed Chinese villagers who refused to reveal Flying Tigers location, yet 95% of all downed airmen picked up by the Chinese made it back to their bases alive, we feel this sculpture will be most representative of the close cooperation and friendship which existed between the American fighting forces and Chinese people in WW II. The courage and resolve shown by the Chinese in aiding the Flying Tigers is one of the little known stories of WW II and something the Chinese can be proud of and many Americans thankful for. Think about this:
• Could you have remained silent as your fingers were cut off one by one?
• Could you have remained silent as your baby was taken from your arms and thrown down a well?
• Could you have remained silent as your head was about to be chopped off or you were being buried alive?
• Could you have remained silent as you were beaten unmercifully?
The Chinese went through these things, and many more things even harder to imagine were also done to them. They paid a heavy price for helping our downed airmen men. The command cave itself is just a short walk up a gentle path or easy stairs. The 23 acres are landscaped with trees and pathways where memorial walls and statues are to be installed along with replica buildings.
The history which occurred here and the friendship which was forged is beautifully remembered and honored by the Chinese in these 23 acres. This Park serves as a reminder of our past friendship and cooperation while serving as a bridge to our future friendship and cooperation.
The motto of the Flying Tiger Historical Organization recognizes this—Remembering the Past—Foundation for the Future.