December 07, 2006

65 Years Ago...

"Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. "
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

It's no great surprise that I'm fascinated by Japan. More specifically, I'm fascinated by Japan's reaction to World War II, and the incredible recovery they have made from their crushing defeat.

But before THAT, I was (and still am) amazed and fascinated by the men, machines, scope and scale of the Pacific War. I've replayed the war dozens, perhaps hundreds of times in games such as Victory In The Pacific (usually in The Game Room at Vaucaunson's Duck's house), and more recently via Pacific War on the computer.

I've read dozens of books, hundreds of websites, and written some long papers on the topic.

But nothing could compare to the half-hour talk I had with a Pearl Harbor survivor that walked into my bookstore some five years ago. I was having a lousy day, up to my wingpits in stuff, and this very elderly gentleman walks in wearing a USS Downes ballcap. I recognized the name from having seen the picture linked to above many times, and he was gracious enough to talk to me about his experiences that day ("lots of noise, lots of smoke, and a helluva lot of bullets...") Unfortunately, his name escapes me now, and considering his age when I met him, I'm fairly sure that he's no longer with us.

He had never managed to forgive the Japanese, and I fear that he would be very angry if he knew of my fascination. I can't help that, but he was pleased to know of my interest in that period of his life. He pointed out that " these days don't know, or don't care, about the history of their country." I'm afraid that he's right.

So in a real sense, this blog stems from that awful day of 65 years ago. The anime and pocky, the faltering attempts to learn the language, the appreciation of the art, theatre and food, all ultimately came from that "Day of Infamy."

May the sacrifices of the servicemen of both sides never be forgotten, so that, perhaps we can learn from them. I saw a story today, relating that there won't be any more Pearl Harbor Survivor reunions, due to their age and dwindling numbers.

I hope that, years from now, people will realize what the USS Arizona memorial means, and that it doesn't become just a tourist spot.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:07 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Unfortunately, I think you're correct on learning the history. It's politically incorrect to teach it today (because America is evil). Next April, I'll be attending my grandfather's 90'th birthday. He was a machinist attached to the Big Red 1 (he wasn't in the Big Red 1, but he maintained their tanks). He was at the Battle Of The Bulge and Market Garden. He just for the first time in the last year or so has begun to tell us small anecdotes and stories from his time in Europe. Those stories are so important to hear.

Posted by: madmike at December 07, 2006 05:15 PM (P1mII)

2 When we were playing all of those games of VIP back in the day, I don't think I really appreciated just what it was we were recreating. Did learn a lot of Pacific geography - even if Truk has considerably less importance on the world scene today.

I wouldn't be so sure that Pearl Harbor survivor isn't still around. He did survive Pearl Harbor, after all. And Gettysburg is still a very powerful memorial, so I imagine the Arizona will retain it's potency.

Are there good animes about the war in the Pacific?

Posted by: Vaucanson's duck at December 08, 2006 10:25 AM (oplPK)

3 Vauc, I only know of one: Zipang (,1584,wotcnj,zipang.html)

There's others, I suspect, but I don't know of them.

Zipang has the same basic plot of The Final Countdown: modern warship goes back in time to WWII. In Zipang's case, a JMSDF Aegis cruiser is sent back to the Battle of Midway... and what happens after that.

I've not seen the series, but I'm curious about it, that's for sure. Anybody else know of any shows?

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 08, 2006 12:07 PM (0Co69)

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