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San Francisco WWII memorial hall calls for public donations to preserve history

SAN FRANCISCO (Xinhua) -- The San Francisco WWII Pacific War Memorial Hall needs more money to make it a better place to preserve the history of China-US friendship forged in World War II, its spokesperson Betty Yuan said Sunday.

Exhibitions on display at the San Francisco WWII Pacific War Memorial Hall. [Photo/Provided to China Daily]

She said July 7 marks the 82nd anniversary of the Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) Incident in 1937 which marked the beginning of Japan's full-scale invasion of China, and the memorial hall is the first overseas Chinese-run memorial facility to record that history with exhibits donated by war veterans or descendants of those who fought in the war.


The memorial hall is launching a campaign to call for public donations to support the goal of making it a better place to preserve the history of Chinese and U.S. young men and women who fought jointly against Japanese militarist aggressors in Second World War, Yuan said.


"There were a lot of touching stories that told how the Chinese and American people supported each other in the WWII era, and we want this part of history known by people on both sides of the Pacific Ocean," she added.


Deborah Zhao, secretary general of the memorial hall, told Xinhua that the memorial hall has outlined a five-part strategy to enrich the substance of the facility and better serve the community, including a 200,000-US-dollar goal to launch a permanent exhibition on the oriental war zone in Asia.


"We also want to digitize all the exhibits in the memorial hall to better cater to the needs of the public because we are already living in a tech-dominated era," she explained.


Zhao said the memorial hall is planning to start a new oral story-telling project, under which it will invite war veterans and their families to tell in person the stories about the wartime life and experience of Chinese and American soldiers, the atrocities of Japanese troops, and the grueling treatment of prisoners held in Japanese camps.


"A new library named after the late author of Iris Chang, the famous book 'The Rape of Nanking' that shed spotlight on the 1937 Nanjing Massacre by Japanese invaders, will be set up in the memorial hall to let viewers have direct access to the historical record of the heinous crime committed by the Japanese aggressors," she said.


"We want to expand the functions of the memorial hall to turn it into a place of workshops by research institutes and schools in nearby Chinatown districts and other places, where students can learn and discuss what they may miss out on campuses," Zhao said.


She added that her team has been in discussion with the San Francisco School District to include what's been exhibited at the facility into the curriculum of their schools to educate their school kids on the WWII history that should be passed on from generation to generation.

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