Friday, November 11, 2011

salute to my grandfather and his China connection

My grandparents, Viola and Emery Fossett

I'm incredibly proud to share my grandfather's story on this Veterans Day. Emery Fossett served our country in World War II. He finished with the title of corporal in the US Army Air Force, medical division. He served in India, Burma and China during WWII.

My grandfather took this photograph of the Burma Road which he helped build.

My mom (the oldest of his four children) tells me that my grandfather helped build the infamous Burma Road, a vital supply route for military and supplies for the people of China as they bravely fought the Japanese invasion. Much of the building was done by hand.

My grandfather took this spectacular photo of the Golden Horse Archway in Kunming (circa 1943)

While stationed in Kunming, China, my grandfather managed to capture some incredible images of the people and city on film, including the legendary Jinma Chinese and Biji Chinese Archways. My grandfather loved horses so it is not a surprise to learn that he took this photograph of the Golden Horse Archway.

The archways of Golden Horse and Green Rooster have long been the symbol of Kunming. People refer to Yunnan as the homeland of Golden Horse and Jade Cock, which are the pattern for the city emblem. On the eastern bank of Dianchi Lake stands the Jinma (Golden Horse) Hill; and on the lake's western bank stands the Biji (Green Rooster) Hill. The two hills form a pass of strategic importance in the city. In remote antiquity, a golden horse ran out of the sun while a green rooster flew out of the moon. Wherever the horse and rooster appeared, trees grew luxuriantly and flowers bloomed, signaling prosperity. They eventually settled on the banks of Dianchi Lake and protected the people of Kunming.

Golden Horse Archway - Kunming China (present day)

Golden Horse Archway - Kunming China (present day)

I am overcome with emotion every time I think about my grandfather being in China, helping the people of Kunming, and knowing that his future great-granddaughters would be adopted from China (Sichuan and Fujian Provinces). When I share his story with my daughters they are equally touched by the China connection. I miss you dearly Grandpa, Love Mandy


  1. Such a beautifully written tribute to grandpa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, sis

  2. My father brought home a similar photo, with another arch in the foreground and the Goldon Horse Archway in the background. Do you have any idea of the name of the one beside the one you posted? My father, James H. ("Hank") Mills, served in the 3rd Bombardment Squadron, 1st Bombardment Group, Chinese-American Composite Wing, 14th Air Force. I have been doing research concerning his WWII military service for several years and have identified several of the bases where he was station, but it has been only recently that I learned that he was at Kunming. Margaret Mills Kincanon

  3. My grandpa was Col Green, in charge of building the Ledo Road for 43-44. If you have any pictures, I'd love to see them.