Thousands of people around the world commemorated the 15th anniversary of the death of Chinese-American author Iris Chang.
She wrote the book “The Rape of Nanking,” which detailed the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army.
Now, she’s received a new honor that will help inspire future generations to come.
Mark Niu has the details on Iris Chang Park.
Iris Chang – author of the Rape of Nanking – won awards for investigating and shining a light on the horrors of war.
But at the age of 36, suffering from depression, she took her own life.
Fifteen years later her memory lives on in San Jose, California with the opening of Iris Chang Park.
“This is my first visit to the park. And it’s absolutely lovely. Very serene,” said neighborhood resident Lee Benzinger. “It’s a holy place.”
Building the park wasn’t easy.
The city council approved the project nearly four years ago.
But almost right off the bat, there was a dispute over the amount of topsoil and then flooding occurred, delaying the project.
Following that, Microsoft proposed building a well on the grounds to supply water for its nearby data center.
Fortunately, all of those controversies are now in the past.
That’s especially comforting for Iris’ parents, who now come to walk through the park every day.
“After Iris died, this particular place always gives us memories,” said Iris’s Father, Shau-Jin Chang,
“She encouraged you to never give up or compromise your ideas and dreams,” said Ying-Ying Chang, Iris’s mother, while looking at a stone emblazoned with the words “The Power of One.”
Iris emphasized the Power Of One person to make an enormous difference in the world in a speech she gave to students at her old high school.
The park’s designer – Richard Deutsch – captures that idea with what he calls the impact rock, which creates a ripple in the grass that grows bigger and bigger.
Iris’ work touched people around the world, including 91-year-old Ketong Xia from Hangzhou, China, who made it a point to stop here on his California visit.
“I paid due respect to Iris Chang because the book she wrote impressed me greatly,” said Xia. “A lot of people who read the book were brought to tears. We were invaded by the Japanese army in the past. There were 300-thousand victims.”
Near the park’s entrance, a stone is engraved with details from Iris’ life, along with words from her famous speech.
“She’s always in our minds. We feel she’s still sort of next to us. We miss her very much,” said Ying-Ying. “When she was alive, she always talked to us, long hours, about her ideas, her stories, her comments. I really miss her a lot.”
I asked Ying-Ying what Iris would think of the park.
“I’m sure Iris would like it very much,” she said. “This is the park that provides community, to relax and to contemplate. They may be thinking of about Iris’s life, the legacy. Maybe her story will inspire them.”