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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