President unveils memorial wall for Black Hawk crash victims
Taipei, March 29 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) unveiled a memorial wall Sunday in memory of eight high-ranking military officers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in January, including the late chief of the general staff, Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴).
The memorial wall, measuring 3.3 meters tall and 10 meters long, is located in a plaza named the "0102 Memorial Zone" outside the Ministry of National Defense (MND), with photos and life stories of the eight officers engraved upon it.
The "0102" represents Jan. 2, the day when Shen and seven of his entourage died in a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crash in mountains in New Taipei while on their way to a pre-Lunar New Year inspection. Five other passengers aboard the helicopter survived the accident.
After unveiling the wall, Tsai once again expressed her sorrow and condolences to the families of the deceased, and thanked the eight men for their contributions to the nation.
"The eight officers were important pillars of our nation's security. Their departure was a great loss to the country and to the armed forces," she said.
She urged the men and women in service to continue the legacies of the dead and to strive for stronger Republic of China (Taiwan) armed forces, as well as fulfilling the mission of protecting the country and democracy.
"Lastly, I want to tell the eight officers who died while conducting your duties: We will remember your sacrifices. I will lead our countrymen in fulfilling your ideals and expectations for the nation," Tsai vowed.
Tsai laid flowers in front of the wall and handed commendation plaques to the family members of the deceased officers, including Shen's mother, who attended the ceremony in a wheelchair.
An air force general, who was a student of Shen, said that he and many other officers who were still grateful for Shen's guidance will take good care of his mother and treat her like their own.
Meanwhile, prior to the unveiling of the memorial wall, Tsai led a spring memorial service in honor of national martyrs at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, about 1 kilometer away from the MND.
The biannual ceremony, held on March 29 and on Sept. 3, pays tribute to those who have laid down their lives for the country.
Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) did not attend the ceremony as part of the government's precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
However, the heads of the five branches of government -- Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Legislative Yuan Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力), Examination Yuan President Wu Jin-lin (吳錦霖) and Control Yuan Vice President Sun Ta-chuan (孫大川) -- were present at the ceremony.
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