Grandma’s Speech

The oldest surviving elder, Wan Zhu, opened our 2009 reunion with a moving speech about family, and our family in particular. She gave the speech in Mandarin, but here’s the speech translated into English:

Shih Wan Zhu, the oldest surviving elder. Her message to the family was shared in August, 2009

Shih Wan Zhu, the oldest surviving elder. Her message to the family was shared in August, 2009

“From 1931 to 1988, China endured two major wars, one external and the other, internal. The first was fought against Japan in World War II. After four years of military struggle, Japan was defeated. The second battle was waged on the political landscape of China, between Mao Zedong’s Communist party and Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomingtang (Nationalist) party.

The competing ideologies resulted in the rupture and destabilization of China’s political system. It was during this political turmoil that our family was separated, in an effort to flee to safety. Consequently, my siblings and I grew up during a very trying time where everyone was forced to fend for themselves. We lost contact with one another. Our biggest regret was not being able to enjoy the blessings of family warmth and sibling love.

Later on, James, Kenneth and Li Zhu emigrated to the US to pursue their studies. The other siblings moved to the island of Taiwan, with the exception of Tan Zhu, who we lost contact with as she stayed in China.

When we started to lose hope of ever hearing from Tan Zhu, James was able to locate our missing sister and helped emigrate her and her family to the US. This was the most joyful moment in our family. Tan Zhu was able to contact our father shortly after and assure him that all six of his children were safe and together.

This assurance gave him peace before his death.

When Chris, Paul and Clarence (all of the second generation) each married in the US, many family members attended the celebrations. They joy and fellowship shared at these weddings inspired my siblings and I to make up for the lost time by going on vacations together to places such as China, Australia and Europe. In China, we paid our respects to our ancestors in the northeast, searched our familial roots in Shandong province and toured in Leizhang. All of it brought back childhood memories — some sad, some joyful, but all beautiful.

Sadly, both Tan Zhu and Kenneth have since passed away. It’s made me feel that time has passed all too quickly, as I am now 86 years old. Since we endured childhood loneliness without the support of our family, it is our wish that the future generations will see the value and enjoy the blessings of one another’s love and support. It is our hope that after this reunion, the ties of our family love will be our legacy that is passed on to all future generations.”

-Shih Wan Zhu, August 2009

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One response

1 09 2009
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