91-year-old Linyi militia man promotes spirit of revolutionary martyrs

By Xu Yiyi and Zhao Ruixue in Linyi, Shandong province(chinadaily.com.cn)Updated: 2021-04-19

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Wang Kechang tells the touching stories from the war time. [Photo by Wang Jing/for chinadaily.com.cn]

Wang Kechang, a 91-year-old former militia man from Zhucun village in Linshu county, Shandong's Linyi, possesses a true passion for telling young people touching stories about what happened during the war, in order to teach them about the "Yimeng Spirit".

The "Yimeng spirit" refers to the hard-work, self-improvement and selfless dedication of the villagers living in the Yimeng Mountain area.

When he was 18, Wang served as a militia man during the War of Liberation (1946-49), and was one of the more than 1.2 million people who strove to support the army at that time.

During the Huaihai Battle, one of the three famous battles of the War of Liberation, Wang took a trolley despite of powders and shells all the way from Shandong to the south many times in order to bring supplies to armies fighting on the front line.

Wang attended the parade during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 2019, receiving the people's salute as a representative of those who supported the army.

Wang noted that Zhucun has kept a special Spring Festival custom for 77 years. Every year, on the first day of the Chinese New Year, villagers bring the first bowl of dumplings and some flowers to the monument of the heroes who died in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

A troop from the Eighth Route Army bravely fought against more than 500 invaders at Zhucun for more than six hours on Jan 24, 1944, which was also Chinese New Year's Eve that year. The enemies were defeated, but 24 soldiers of the Eighth Route Army lost their lives.

The rest of the troop turned down a Spring Festival's eve dinner from villagers for fear of bringing trouble to them after the fight ended. The next day, which was the first day of the Chinese New Year, villagers came together voluntarily to mourn the 24 soldiers who died in the fight.

Today, Wang and his wife run a store selling general merchandise in the village. "Great changes have taken place in our life," said Wang."For example, public security, the local environment and medical conditions have all been improved. We can also apply for reimbursement if we fall ill."

What makes Wang even prouder is that his grandson now serves in the PLA's rocket force.

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The memorial hall for martyrs who died during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) in Zhucun village. [Photo by Wang Jing/for chinadaily.com.cn]

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Zhucun village takes on a new image. [Photo by Wang Jing/for chinadaily.com.cn]