Personal relationships make a difference on the world stage

Monday, March 28, 2011

In what may be the closest thing McCook gets to an international state dinner, Mayor Dennis Berry and Madam Li Xiaolin exchanged gifts in a private dinner Saturday at the Coppermill Restaurant in McCook.

The occasion was the visit of Li, aides and a film crew from China filming scenes and interviews for a documentary and 3D film about the experiences of a McCook native shot down and rescued by her father, Gen. Li Xiannian, during World War II.

Witnessing the exchange were members of the extended family of the late Glen Beneda, the McCook pilot, who was returned to his family thanks to the bravery of the Chinese who hid his airplane and kept him from being captured by the Japanese.

It was one more example of how something good -- international friendship and understanding -- can result from something as horrible as war.

It was also an example of how personal relationships can overcome political and geographical barriers.

Beneda, who went on to have twin sons and a career as a fireman in California, was able to thank his Chinese benefactors in person several times, including a final trip to China only weeks before his death last fall.

We hope Americans, especially McCook-area residents, are able to view and enjoy the documentary and film once they are produced.

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