The Columbus War Museum, which is located inside the Columbus Municipal Complex, is a place where history is preserved from WWI to the present. The following is a summary of one of the stories preserved:
My name is Diane Lynley. At the beginning of WWII my father, Robert Walsham, was working for the Chinese government. In 1941, the Japanese took over a missionary camp and turned it into Weihsien Concentration Camp. Over two thousand prisoners were held there for four years. When our family became prisoners, I was only three and a half years old and my brother, Gerald, was two and a half. I remember the Japanese bringing a dead horse into the camp and hanging it up until maggots were crawling out of it; then they fed it to us. But don’t get me wrong; they treated us better than they treated the Chinese!
The Japanese had a beautiful fenced in garden. One day my brother and I climbed over the fence to look at it, when a guard started hollering at us. Gerald and I ran as fast as we could! I will never forget my brother telling me that we could outrun the bullets!
We found out from the Chinese that the war was over, but it took a long time before we were liberated. One day some planes flew overhead and dropped supplies by parachutes. One of them landed in the chow hall; it was the first good food we had eaten in four years!
The Chinese government had a ceremony on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp in August of 2005 for the ex-prisoners and families, which my brother and I gladly attended. At the end, they released 1500 doves as a sign of peace.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE—LEST YE FORGET! If you would like to share your story, or have a loved one that you would like to account for, please contact Wayne White at (205) 662-4129 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.