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Blind WWII veteran gets to touch the tanks


12-15-2016 05:33 BJT

A blind war veteran’s wish to touch China’s tanks went viral across the country’s social media over the past week. And on Sunday, his wish came true, as soldiers welcomed Qian Jianmin to their army base.

Blind WWII veteran gets to touch the tanks

Blind WWII veteran gets to touch the tanks

Six tanks were waiting for his inspection. It was a big day for 94-year-old Qian, a blind World War II veteran. A week ago, a volunteer from a welfare group for veterans posted a picture of the old solider, saying Qian told him he wanted to touch and know what the military’s latest tanks were like. His request soon went viral, being shared more than 28,000 times and gaining 30,000 likes in the past week.

On Sunday, Qian put on his uniform, and got a rousing reception at an army base in Suzhou. He could not hold back the tears as he placed his hands on the tanks, and reminisced about the machines he used to operate.

“He’s emotionally attached to tanks. But in the past, what he drove were all made by foreigners. Now, our country becomes more powerful, we have our own weapons. He really wished that he could touch the Chinese-made tank, it was his biggest wish,” Qian's daughter said.

During the war, Qian was on the frontline in Burma, fighting against Japan. He lost his sight in the line of duty when he was 24. He attended military school, and also studied at Chongqing’s Ground Force Mechanization Institute, where he spent time with armored vehicles.

Qian Jianmin has dedicated his whole life to his country. Whenever and wherever he is, he feels closely connected with the army.

“Now I have a new wish: I wish the country can be more and more powerful. My comrades, we should definitely be devoted to the construction of our motherland,” he said.

After his visit to the base, Qian said he would like to donate his body to medical research when he dies. He said that this may be the last thing he can do for his country.

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