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2020-5-13 2879 font size:

this day 200 years ago, born in florence of italy an angel, who was later on celebrated as the “lady with the lamp” in the british army and throughout the world--in the british army because she pioneered a nurse team into the crimean war and rescued a great many british soldiers with improved sanitary skills as well as her characteristic lamp that enlightened the warfare nights, throughout the world because she sparked worldwide health care reform with her trailblazing writings and institutions for nurses.


she was florence nightingale, founder of modern nursing. in 1912, two years after her death, the world recognized her birthday, may 12, as the international nurses day.

may 12,2020  is the 200th anniversary of nightingale’s birthday. in the face of the global pandemic, which has caused a death toll of over 286,000 as of today, we are commemorating this nurses day with particular implications. while nightingale went down in history, her spirit of rescuing lives is still making history. in china, in italy, in britain, in spain, in japan, in russia, in germany… across the world and throughout this non-conventional war against covid-19, we see tens of millions of nightingales enlightening people’s future in harm’s way.


this day 12 years ago, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake devastated wenchuan, china. as a result, nearly 70,000 people have been killed, 18,000 missing and more than 370,000 injured. this earthquake was unprecedented, not only in terms of the magnitude, but also in the scale of the massive disaster relief and rescue work mobilized spontaneously among the people. in retrospect of the epic disaster relief and rescue in 2008, we will never forget a then news report:


“a country that can dispatch 100,000 troops to rescue lives, a country that the premier rushed to the devastated area within two hours, a country that has caused traffic jams due to voluntary blood donation from the people, will not be crushed.”


to mark the heroic exploits of the chinese people, may 12 was officially designated in china as the national disaster prevention and mitigation day.

when the two historic occasions converge on this day, when “stay strong, wuhan!” echoes with “stay strong, wenchuan!” across a 12-year historical span, when humanitarian efforts help humanity understand more of their shared community of a common future, we have every reason to believe that on this day next year, when we solute our nightingales and send condolence to the deaths in various disasters again, we will also celebrate the victory of the grand global anti-virus war.


“many hardships forge a nation.” written in wenchuan 12 years ago, applicable to the world today and tomorrow.