Washington, DC – Earlier this week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) paid tribute to the shared sacrifice of American and Chinese World War II veterans during a ceremony in Kunming, China.  The ceremony was part of a multi-stop Congressional delegation through China.  The trip and ceremony participants also included Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep. John Spratt (D-SC), Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

   At a ceremony attended by Chinese veterans and featuring the planting of a memorial tree, Skelton stated, “We come here to commemorate the courage, valor and friendship of two great nations. The stories of the American veterans with whom I have met and the Chinese veterans here today remind us all that these men from opposite sides of the world formed a true ‘band of brothers’.”  In moving forward with American-Chinese relations, Skelton added we should remember “the spirit of Kunming.”

   Kunming is the site of a memorial to the military pilots who flew the treacherous Hump Route from India to supply the war effort in China, including those of the famous Flying Tigers who protected the Chinese skies from Japanese raids. The delegation visited Kunming as the first stop in China on a trip that also took them to visit Chinese military sites in Qingdao and Beijing.