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7 Dec 1941

The MacKinnon

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Tomorrow is the 66th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese Empire on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. My dad is a combat vet of that conflict in the Pacific theater. He is 84 and battling bladder cancer. I spent this week teaching my students about the origin of the war in the Pacific which meant teaching Japanese history from about 900 to 1941. I hope it opened their eyes. We did an extensive lesson on Bata'an and the death march. I wanted to do this to honor my dad and all those who served during that time. The survivors of that war are now passing at the rate of over 1000 a day. In a few years, all our WWII veterans will have left us.


I just wanted to say 'thank you'. Two great movies that are historically accurate are 1970's "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and a much more recent film "The Great Raid" about the 1944 rescue of 500 POWs (Bataan survivors) at the prison camp of Cabanatuan, Philippines. It is a wonderful and sadly too obscure film. The bravery of both the US Army Rangers, and the Filipine resistance fighters (and the POWs themselves) is sobering.


So here's a toast to the 5th USAAF, 43rd Heavy Bomb Group ("Kens Men") and the 64th, and 65th squadron and the men who flew "Lucky Lucille" (a B-24D). And may God bless you all.


Alexis :cocktail:

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My folks were WWII vets too; my Dad was a radio operator on a Coast guard vessel in the Pacific, and my Mom was a Navy Nurse...she was stationed on Guam in a field hospital and treated casualties from Okinowa and Iwo Jima...she's still with us at 93. She's been battling cancer also, but is doing remarkably well, considering.


You know, I've often wondered about the possibility that these vets were exposed to fallout from Hiroshima and Nagasaki...they say you can develop cancer years later. At least it happened very late and did not end their lives prematurely. You know, my Mom beat lymphoma at 88; I hope and pray that your Dad will win his battle too.


I asked my Mom whether she thought the attack on Pearl Harbor was worse than 911, or vice versa. She said that 911 was, in her opinion, due to the civilian targets. It's very interesting to get the perspective of someone who's witnessed both of these horrific attacks.


Those are really great lessons that you gave your students; I know my own kids have loved hearing about their grandparents' military service, and especially enjoy the pictures they've kept from those days. Too often our kids get a negative feeling for military service, either from Vietnam-era parents, or due to the controversy surrounding our current handling of the war on terror.


I think it's great that you taught your students to honor our vets; I'm sure they'll benefit from the lessons you gave them.



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I think 9-11 was probably worse as well - the Japanese did attack clearly identified military targets using clearly identified military aircraft.


My prayers are with your mom. I pray for her recovery and peace.

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That was such a great lesson you taught your kids and I do think it will have some affect on them. They will remember this lesson if not for a long time, at least it will be in the back of their minds.


I have not seen either of the movies you mentioned, so will see if we can find them and rent them.


Old Pine's Dad was in WWII as was my B-I-L who passed away last spring. So yes, it won't be long and they will all be gone.






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I think it is sad how little attention the media pays to days such as this. It is important that our children and grandchildren know what happened. Millions of Americans have made huge sacrifices to make the life we have possible.

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My Mom's birthday is Dec.07. She says all she can remember of that day is feeling bad because she didn't get her birthday cake and presents because the adults were too angry and worried. She didn't realize it meant her four older brothers were going to war. One was a tail gunner in the Pacific, one was in the trenches in France, one was a supply clerk in Europe and the other was stationed here in the U.S. They all made it home.


My husband's father was on the beach at Normandy and helped fight for every inch of ground to Germany. After earning three purple hearts and a small chest full of medals he was rescued from a P.O.W. camp.


I didn't start college until our youngest child started school. I did an article about him for advanced feature article writing class. I still have the tapes I used to interview him. To have him open up and talk to me about the war and realize what that generation went through was heart wrenching. I had never realized just what they had been through, especially the P.O.W.s. It gave me a tremendous amount of respect for all our veterans.


I guess that is why I get so upset when I read and hear about the way our returning vets are being treated this time around. Sorry for rambling.

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