"Air raid sirens, and car, train and ship horns wailed and people stood for three minutes in silence on Monday to mourn the tens of thousands who died in last week's earthquake. The moment of grief was observed across the vast country of 1.3 billion people at 2:28 pm, exactly a week after the devastating magnitude-8 quake struck Sichuan. The death toll is estimated to be above 50,000. The silent tribute was the first of its kind for citizens killed in a natural disaster." (from the Chinadaily.com)
The Monday morning flag ceremony at the school was a sombre one as all three flags (Canada, China, and the school's) were raised in succession as the students sang the national anthems and school song, then lowered to half-mast to begin our part of the three days of national mourning. As at every previous Monday morning ceremony, two students gave speeches, one in Chinese and one in English. However, this week the speeches were offers of support and condolences for all those affected. Then a student representative from each home room was asked to give a short message regarding the tragedy.
At 2:28 in the afternoon, whistles, horns and bells rang throughout
the local area, the city and the country, and everything ground to a standstill across China for three minutes of silence. All flags in the country are presently at half-mast. Today in class, many students wanted to sit quietly again for the three minutes in the afternoon and so we did. It has been a very emotional week for everyone.
Monday evening, in our Vanke apartment complex courtyard, there was a small remembrance ceremony put together by the "neighbourhood". Candles were lit, and people stood in silence for a few minutes as they reflected on the tragedy of a week ago. A large paper lantern was lit and it slowly drifted up into the dark sky. We just happened to be out shopping at the local little grocery store, came across the small group and stayed for awhile.
It is hard to believe the epicenter was only 1000km away, not a large distance by earthquake standards. It has certainly had an effect on all of us this past week.
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