Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pearl Harbor Remembrance day

Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Remembrance day, which is a day to remember and honor the 2,403 victims who were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 

I was too young to remember the beginning of The United States involvement in WW2, but, I do have some memory of the war years, and I definitely remember when it ended.

I have heard it said that just about everybody can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that Kennedy was killed…I honestly have no idea where I was when I heard that news, but I do remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard WW2 had ended, and I was only 6 years old at the time.  

For me, those were the “good old days” because at that age I was oblivious to just how bad things really were.  Looking back, I now realize that this was actually the “bad old days”, not just for our family, but for the entire world.   I mention this because this August is the 70th anniversary of ending of that war.

During that summer in 1945, I lived with my family in Stillwater Oklahoma.  We lived about a block and a half south of the fire station.   If I remember correctly, the address was 1016 South Lewis Street.  It was a very old house, and it was also quite small, and it had an outhouse in the back yard instead of an indoor bathroom.   (Does that sound like “white privilege” to you?) The house is no longer there, it was torn down years ago and you can no longer tell there was ever even a house there.

Every time the siren sounded at the fire station, my brother and I would run out to the street to watch the fire truck go by.  With no TV, or video games, a fire truck going by with siren blowing and lights flashing, was the highlight of the day.   So on one summer day in 1945 we heard the siren and ran out to the street and waited, but the fire truck never came.   Eventually, our Mom came out and explained that the fire truck wasn’t coming.  The siren was sounding celebrating the news that WW2 had just ended.

My brother and I were too young to fully appreciate the news at that time, but in the weeks and months and years to come, we learned to appreciate just how important that day really was.

As everyone knows, or should know, the war ended because the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan.  The first was on August 6, 1945, when an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure.

Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.  Japan’s Emperor Hirohito then announced his country’s unconditional surrender on August 15, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb.”

In recent years, I have heard many American citizens, as well as citizens of other countries, criticizing America’s decision to use such inhumane tactics.  They seem to be convinced that the war was almost over and the use of nukes was unnecessary.  The truth is, the war was not almost over, and using the bombs not only saved untold thousands of American lives, it quite possibly saved many Japanese lives as well.

Perhaps these people are unaware that the Japanese were guilty of many war crimes far greater than anything most Americans can even imagine.  Most of which, I have been aware of for many years, but I recently read about a very disturbing incident I had never before heard about.  You can read about it here:  http://universalfreepress.Com/Japanese-dissected-us-bomber-crew-while-they-were-still-alive-in-wwii-photos/

Just in case the article is no longer on that site, here are a couple more links.

It explains how downed American airmen were subjected to horrific medical experiments and were actually dissected while they were still alive during World War Two.

I recently watched a very good movie entitled “unbroken”.  It’s a true story about American POWs during WW2.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.  It shows a little of what the POWs had to endure, but these are just a few examples.   Many American POW’s were used as slave labor, and some were beheaded.  Many American POWs starved to death.  You can learn much more if you Google “Japanese war crimes world war two”.

I realize all these events occurred a very long time ago, and I’m not trying to create resentment, or bring back bad memories for anyone, but before people call President Truman a murderer and a war criminal, they should know all the facts. 

I sometimes feel like our children today are being taught history with a very biased slant which tends to depict America as always being the “bad guys”. I’m not saying America has never made mistakes.  I’m just saying that the manner in which we brought an end to WW2 was not one on them.

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