The year is 1933. Young officer Li rolled up the last of his tobacco leaves and lit up his new creation with a match. He breathes in deeply, a satisfied breath, and then exhales the smoke together with a deep sigh. His soul is plagued with feelings of of longing… or is that regret?
He takes another deep breath, letting the smoky goodness fill his lungs. He nods to no one in particular. Yes – there is definitely some regret there.
It wasn’t that long ago when there was peace across the land. It was just one year ago, in fact, that he was still a farmer boy playing in the cornfield of his father’s vast land. Today he is part of the 626th Regiment of the Northeastern Army. His job sounds simple, but is far from it. He is guarding Shanhaiguan from the Imperial Japanese Army in the north.
War is about to come to Li. Earlier this morning, word filtered down that the envoy from the Japanese 8th Division had already made its demands for the 626th Regiment to evacuate from their location on the Great Wall.
The smoky goodness suddenly tastes bitter at the thought of the upcoming battle. Li hands the half smoked cigarette to one of his comrades. “Today we fight on this Great Wall to defend our motherland,” he says. “Who knows? Maybe in 50 years, this piece of wall we will fight on today will become a place of peace once again.”
He pauses. The time of battle is close. He readies his weapon. “Will they remember our names then?” [Read more…]