Forum: Remembrance
Topic: David wanted me to publish this article I wrote last night
started by: jasonspangle

Posted by jasonspangle on May 25 2001,11:16
Why spend only one day in honor?

"Pearl Harbor... bla bla bla... 1941... bla bla bla..."  A young woman at a nearby college groaned at me as I walked past her.  It was becoming winter last year and I was wearing my only jacket; a flight jacket that was painted up with respect to our nation's veterans of WWII.  On the front of it is a Japanese flag with the words "Burma Blues" written over part of it (those that know history will understand), while on the back are the words "A.V.G. China 1941" and Disney's insignia of the "Flying Tigers."  I've owned this jacket for about ten years, bought it when I was sixteen, had my mother paint it up about a year later.

I kept walking, not saying anything, but only realizing why I wear my jacket... it seems that some people just don't understand or care what our world went through years ago.  I'm not just talking about Pearl or D-day, Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but it seems these days the only reason most "kids" know about this stuff is because of Hollywood.  I'm not complaining too much about the sudden surge of World War II movies lately, it's just that history is so much more than film (and money).  I was learning about war at the age of seven while talking with my Grandfather, wishing I were driving the Sherman Tank or piloting the F4U Corsair Fighter.  When you are a kid pretending, war is romanced and remote.  Being inside the imagination, it's colorful and everyone's a hero.

My grandparents lived in an age that saw nearly all of the country pull together and stick together.  There wasn't too many "draft dodgers" in those days I can assure you, and don't even get me started about burning the flag, people back then didn't put up with that kind of garbage.  Now I sound like I'm going on seventy or eighty, but I'm only 26... and I can say this: I would have joined up and fought against the Axis.  My country 'tis of thee.

There is so much more to history kids; while your high school teacher or college professor is on the soapbox talking about the 9 million deaths in the Holocaust, ask him or her about the 20 million Russians lost in operation "Barbarossa," ask of the bombing of London, or the bombing of the small Spanish city of Guernica. The German air force or Luftwaffe, "tested" their bombing capabilities by destroying a small town in Spain that held no militaristic value at all.  While your teachers are mentioning the varied ethnic prisoner camps inside our own country, ask about the march along Bataan road our 10,000 U.S. P.O.W.'s and 65,000 Filipinos had to make under extreme heat and brutal Japanese guard.  Many died.  

A few years ago, when the Isuzu plant went in at Lafayette, they placed it near a street that was named in memorial "Bataan." Now here's the sickening part; the officials in charge of the whole operation wanted the sign "Bataan" renamed so it would not offend the Japanese workers there.  Where is this country going folks?  Yeah, I can imagine Ford or Dodge putting in a plant near Hiroshima and asking to have one of the numerous atom bomb memorials covered up to not offend the U.S. workers there.  Do you ever notice it doesn't work that way?  Another example was the "Enola Gay" display at the Smithsonian... denied... Look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about.  It's gruesome history people, worse than ANY Steven King novel, and it even goes back further if you can believe that...  Down to World War One (which the History Channel seems to avoid) and The Spanish-American War, down to the Civil War and our own Revolution.  So many stories, so little is known among the general public.  It seems that no one realizes that we could have lost World War II.

Who knows about the Japanese attack and takeover of America's paradise Guam Island?  It happened on the same day as Pearl's attack.  Don't worry, we got the island back, but do you read about that in your history books?  Do you even know where Guam is?  I bet most of you know where Cancun or Jamaica is though.

The movie "Pearl Harbor" is bringing about all kinds of controversy... WHY?  December 7, 1941 was always there, just like our boys are still there inside the depths of the Arizona (look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about).  So why is there so much hub-bub within the states?  Was there this much controversy with the 1970 movie "Tora Tora Tora?" (it was about Pearl Harbor).  It seems fine to make memorials about the foreign atrocities, but when an American memorial takes place, (especially on film where everyone hears/sees about it)  everyone gets bent out of shape.

Anymore, people are such wimps trying to cover up history, polishing it here and there so not to offend anyone.  It's history.  I wear my flag with pride, and I respect anyone who served our country, it doesn't take a movie to do that.  We owe our freedom to those gallant people, and I wish I could thank each and every one.  This Memorial Day, if your plans are to get drunk and have a barbecue... put down the beer and spend time with your kids.  If you don't have any kids, spend time with your parents.  If that doesn't work, I can think of a lot of people at a veteran's retirement home in Lafayette that could use some company.

Thank you for reading,

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Posted by jasonspangle on May 25 2001,11:20
I guess I should explain my stripes... I'm not in the Navy, almost joined up twice though...

I have recently been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and I'm assuming I'll never be able to join any service...  that broke my heart more than anything.  

But I guess in Cyberspace, I can be whoever I want.  So I'll be a machinist's mate on some old gunboat in the "Great White Fleet"  probably the U.S.S. Maine or U.S.S. Texas (the first one) around the turn of the century.

Posted by Angie on May 26 2001,12:41
Thank you, Jason ... thank you very much for your words and for who you are.

I hope everyone has a chance to read this!


Posted by G Farmer on May 26 2001,10:57
I share many of your sentiments,
jasonspangle -- in fact, your remind me of me when I was somewhat younger.  I am 51 now, and I agree that it is a travesty that Memorial Day's significance is now the "beginning of summer" and not a day for honoring those Americans who gave up everything they had to defend this nation and our freedom.

I ask you to think a little further about a couple of things you mentioned.  First, America is the greatest nation and civilization in the history of the world  precisely BECAUSE each one of us has the freedom to dissent and disagree with our government and burn Old Glory on the steps of the US Capitol building in order to make our point -- NOT because most of us would rather cut off our own hands before doing such a thing.  What other civilization, culture, or government in the history of the world could stand such freedom and dissent among its own people?   The answer:  NONE -- NOT ONE. The day you cannot burn the flag down on Main Street at high noon because you are really angry with the government is the day that this country will begin to lose that special greatness and freedom our forefathers died to establish and protect.  Think about that some and see if you don't agree.

Secondly, there is no shortage of stories of the awful horrors and cruelty that thousands of innocents endured and suffered during WW II at the hands of evil men and women.  Some of these stories do get more play and attention these days than others.  While all who committed these acts are equally reprehensible and all will get God's  "special attention" in the hereafter, the Holocaust does rightfully get a little more attention -- not because the Jews who were slaughtered were more innocent, or more important, or deserve more sympathy than the other innocents, but because they were slaughtered because of WHO they were.  Most were loyal German citizens before Hitler came to power.  It was genocide--an attempt to destroy a whole race of people in one felled swoop simply because of their ancestry.  That is why it gets special attention today as something that must never be forgotten or let to happen again.  Not because they are more deserving of it.  Please think about that too.  

It is heartening to see somone of your age group with his head on straight.  My oldest daughter is 25 and I think she qualifies too.  Good luck to you, and keep up your writing.  I think you may have a future at it if you so desire.

Posted by Larry Jewell on May 26 2001,11:10
Jason, I frequently drive by the Suburu-Isuzu Automotive Plant on "Bataan Memorial Highway."  I've always thought that the "visiting dignataries" from the "home office" must find out that what that sign on the side of the highway means.  I would tell them, "That's what the second bomb was for."
Posted by USSBOWFINSS287 on May 30 2001,8:36

My age group falls between yours and G FARMER....and I certainly understand your thoughts....GF, I agree with you that "freedom" means the opportunity to 'burn the flag on Main Street"...I just hope that no one tries it in front of me....I just might (accidentally, of course!) "spring a leak" in my garden hose! :)

I feel it is our DUTY to continue to insure that the coming generations realize that "FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!"  I don't know what the best way to do that may be...but simply wearing your jacket, fllying the flag, standing at attention (and singing?) during out National Anthem....perhaps they seem like "small things"...but I suspect that folks WILL take notice!!!

I am a member of Civil Air Patrol....CAP with a rather distinguished history beginning at the time of WWII....I am proud to wear the uniform (although NOT the military one!) and am hopeful that it may give people time to consider that there are many, more worthy than I, serving to keep us free!!!


Posted by Fortress on May 31 2001,5:52
Thank you for this beautiful post.  For some reason, it has become passe in this country to be too openly patriotic.  If you look at the "critics" of the latest patriotic movies (I'm thinking particularly of Pearl Harbor and The Patriot) you will find that they all seem ashamed to admit that there are some really wonderful things about this country for which we should all be proud.  Have we reached an age where we are too "cool" to stand up and show the flag?   Your post gives me hope that we are not, and that the lessons of the past are not being forgotten.
Posted by Angie on Jun. 06 2001,9:52
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