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May 22, 2008

BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) -- A three-day period of national mourning for the tens of thousands of quake victims, the first of its kind in China for ordinary people, is officially ending, but people are still caught up in feelings of grief.

On MSN, many netizens added a rainbow before their signatures, to symbolize the end of a storm, just as a rainbow does.

Cars displayed yellow ribbons to signify sorrow and prayers for the safe return of relatives.

National flags fluttered, for a final day, at half staff. The relay of the Olympic torch remained suspended.

Website logos and newspaper mastheads were black, the color of May 12, when a deadly quake in southwest China changed the fate of millions.


When, at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, the world's most populous nation suddenly paused, I believed I saw the tears of China.

Tears flowed for mothers desperately shouting their children's names, many never to be answered.

Tears fell for children waiting for their parents, without knowing if their wait would ever end on Earth.

Tears were shed for those buried in an instant, for the injured and the bereaved, for the ruins, and the once-vibrant land tainted with blood.

But there has been more than tears.

As of Wednesday at noon, donations for the disaster area had reached 16 billion yuan (2.29 billion U.S. dollars) and 1.764 billion yuan had been forwarded to the earthquake-affected areas.

Blood stocks in Sichuan Province, the worst-hit region, more than met demand within four days after the disaster.

Soldiers, armed police, medical staff and volunteers from around the nation are still on the scene in the mountainous province. Some are caring for survivors, others are digging -- sometimes with nothing more than their hands -- driven by the slim hope of still finding someone alive.

Overseas Chinese who could not return lit candles in London, Paris, Berlin and other cities, or wrote poems to mourn for their compatriots.


The Associated Press wrote: "The national pause ... underscored the profound impact that the worst natural disaster in a generation has had on the country's 1.3 billion people."

Top leaders from France, the United States, Japan, Great Britain and other countries went to Chinese embassies to offer their condolences during the three mourning days.

Now that the formal national mourning is about to end, love shouldn't.


Let us remember the teacher at the Yingxiu township primary school, who died in the posture of an eagle, arms encircling two students.

Let us remember the mother in Beichuan, who covered her baby with her body as the debris from the quake rained down, leaving a last, silent message with her gesture: Dear baby, if you are alive, do remember that I love you.

Let us remember the grandfather clutching his wife tightly under the wreckage, only to find her dead when he was rescued.

Let us remember the soldier who knelt down after receiving orders to leave, bursting into tears and begging, "Please, let me save another child. I can save one more!"

Let us remember the gray-haired beggar in a patched blue coat, who went to the donation box twice, first with 5 yuan, then 100.

With our memories, may we pass on our love, to those in need in the future, be they farmers or officials, elderly or young.

More entries: China earthquake death toll rises to 51,151, Commentary: As China's national mourning ends, love lives on, Flght like an excellent boxer.

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