National Geographic : 1959 Mar
BLACKSTAR Salvage party searches rubble for belongings after a hit. Few houses stand un scarred. Barrages saturate the island, shattering hospitals, schools, and temples (opposite), as well as military targets. Dispossessed families live in caves (page 429). Boys in a Ruined Temple Roll Hoops Beneath a Battle-scarred Idol Centuries-old shrines and landmarks disappear overnight. This temple on the island's once-sheltered south side crumbled when Communist artillery increased its range. Ironically, the statue represents a god who transports souls of the dead to heaven. Villagers, desperately lacking wood, salvaged the lumber at right. had once been healthy young trees. The gun fire had cut them as effectively as a giant ax. Nanshan, directly opposite the Communist shore batteries, has the unhappy distinction of being the most shelled village on Quemoy. Once a prosperous community of 600 people, it has been transformed into a heap of rubble in which not a single building remains intact. Lieutenant Chen and I picked our way through the narrow streets, climbing heaps of broken bricks and shattered roof tiles. We paused in front of what had been a temple, its roof and walls shattered, its huge hand hewn beams splintered by Red gunfire. 424 "This temple was built in the first half of the 16th century," my companion told me, scanning the gilt characters on a wooden dedi catory tablet lying in the rubble. "It was dedicated to ancestor worship. For four hun dred years the people of Nanshan have come here to pay homage to their forebears. Now, in a single day, it is gone." The stillness of death lay upon Nanshan as we walked its deserted streets. The only sound was the crunching of broken roof tiles beneath our feet. Then, near the edge of town, we came upon three figures hard at work in the ruins of what had been a home.