Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

It's another Memorial Day; the fourth Memorial Day since the inception of this blog. So. Before you light up that BBQ, before you continue with your party, before you start cleaning up and putting everything away and prepare to return the grind tomorrow after your excellent holiday....

Stop. And remember the men and women who gave their lives for you and me to live free, for you and me to lead our lives as we see fit, for you and me to practice religion as we choose.

And say a prayer. Take someone's hand and ask them if they want to pray out loud with you. Rarely will anyone say no. I encourage you.

My grandfather, my father, my husband, my son, have all served in the military. My grandfather I never met because he died as a prisoner of war. He died on a ship called the Oryoku Maru. In Japanese, "Maru" is like "U.S.S." on the names of American ships. The Oryoku Maru was originally a passenger ship. In fact, when my grandfather and 1,619 other POWs were on the ship there were Japanese tourists on it at the same time. Raise your hand if you've heard of the Oryoku Maru.

No hands raised.

The reason why no hands are raised is because when survivors of the Oryoku Maru returned to the U.S.A. they were required by our government to sign agreements that they would never speak of the horrors they endured. Why. Because the United States chose to help rebuild Japan after the war. If word got out of the horrific treatment of the POWs then it would have sparked a firestorm of anger and resentment which would not help us to rebuild Japan. We needed to help Japan rebuild.

This is a picture of my grandad. He died in the hold of the ship where there were no windows. He suffocated in a crush of humanity when he was 39 years old. His wife and his little girl (my mom) were in San Diego at the time. He was awarded the Navy Cross - not for dying in the war but for extraordinary bravery above and beyond the call of duty. The Navy Cross is the second highest of all the medals that can be awarded for valor.

If you are so inclined, an essay my mom wrote about her daddy is at:

Dear Grandson

The main page is:

This writer believes that since Washington, Jefferson, Franklin; since WWII, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Reagan; America has come a long way.

But she's going the wrong way.

Happy Memorial Day, dear readers. Have a great day. Remember the fallen. Pray for our troops, for our president, for our country, and for the world.

(♥ Hi Mom. I love ya.)


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