by Liu Chen
WASHINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) -- "When I first looked from a distance, I thought it was a black man in uniform fighting for China," joked Tafari Excell, an American viewer at a photo show about China's role in World War II (WWII) held in Washington.
Then he approached and observed the picture, recognizing that it was a Chinese pilot with a dark face and really shiny white teeth.
"I knew almost nothing about this part of WWII history, and the exhibit gives me a chance to see a bigger picture," said Excell, a New Yorker on a business trip in the capital.
On Monday, a photo exhibit featuring China's contribution to the world's victory in the Anti-Fascist War and U.S.-China alliance in the wartime kicked off at Russell Senate Office Building of the U.S. Capitol Complex, displaying about 50 photos of the time.
The five-day event is to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the "July 7 Incident", or known as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.
On July 7, 1937, Japanese troops attacked Marco Polo Bridge on the southwest outskirts of Beijing, mounting a full-scale invasion.
Throughout WWII, China was a major battlefield in the fight against the Japanese fascist invasion and the major Asian battlefield in the war against fascists worldwide.
When Americans discuss WWII, the emphasis is often on the European Theater or the conflict directly between the United States and Japan, while little attention has been given to the role China played in the war or the deep alliance between China and the United States, said the organizer of the event, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation.
"We hope this exhibit will give some much deserved attention to an often overlooked aspect of the war," the organizer noted in a statement.
One of the highlights of the exhibit was the photos demonstrating the Chinese army fighting shoulder to shoulder with their U.S. friends, close to 300 young Americans forming the American Volunteer Group (AVG), or better known as the "Flying Tigers."
"I had no idea that China and the United States were close friends in the fight against Japan," Kay Serna, a visitor from the U.S. state of Oklahoma, told Xinhua.
"I'm really touched by their cooperation in the wartime," Serna added.
Organized and commanded by Claire Chennault, the leader of the "Flying Tiger," the AVG was a band of volunteer pilots and ground staff whose sole purpose was to help China fight against invading Japanese troops before the United States officially entered WWII.
The "Flying Tigers" also facilitated the establishment of a legendary air route over the Himalayas, which was vital for transporting supplies between India and China.
"In school we were just taught about WWII in Europe, which was not sufficient," said Excell. "Now I know that there were other players and achievements done by other people."
"That's impressive," he added.