It has been three months since the 7.8 earthquake that devastated the Sichuan province of China, killing 70,000 people, injuring 375,000 and leaving more than 5 million homeless. Over 7,000 classrooms were destroyed and close to 10,000 children died in the tragedy. With the one child rule in China, there was an outpouring of grief as many families lost their only child.
In the opening ceremony of the summer games, 9-year old Lin Hao, accompanying flag bearer Yao Ming, represented hope for the Chinese poeple. Lin Hao was a student at the Yuzixi Primary School in quake-epicenter, Wenchuan County. He not only survived the earthquake but, after getting out of his classroom, went back into the rubble to pull two classmates to safety. During his rescue he was hit by falling rubble and suffered a head injury. And while waiting for help, he encouraged his classmates to sing, to keep their spirits up. When he was asked why he risked his life, he said that he was the hall monitor and it was his job to look after his classmates.
One of our readers commented that the most important lesson the Bejing Olympics can teach us is to be a good sport, a gracious loser and a generous winner. Although Lin Hao is not an olympian – at least not yet – his heroism makes a grieving country proud and, while still mourning, allows all of China to enjoy the celebration.