Sunday, May 30, 2010


Working at the VA hospital I have the opportunity to meet some real characters on a daily basis. I also get the chance to be humbled by stories of courage, suffering, and tragedy unlike anything I can imagine in my own life. The last few weeks I have been nursing some injuries and illness including a bruised left foot, right big toe frostbite, L patellar tendon bruise, and some serious general fatigue from just trying to do to much. Things have been improving, but a little slow for my liking. It does not help that I am addicted to racing and keep coming back even though I know I am not ready for it.

I can always count on the vets for helping me put things in perspective. The other day a chipper little 88 year old gentlemen shared some of his life story with me.

Picture this:

I joined the military when I was 18 because we had no money. My father was killed while working as an electrician when I was a baby and my mother did everything she could to care for my brothers and I. My younger brother was born with some physical and mental disabilities and back then you were on your own raising kids. My mom did a fantastic job with what she had and gave my brother a real life that he otherwise would not have had.

In the Military I ended up in the Philippines. Soon after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor they attacked us. There strike was quick and they soon controlled all of the Philippines including thousands of American troops. The lucky ones died during the strike.

As POW's we were forced to walk across the island. It took 65 days through the jungle and we were given no food or water. We were allowed to scavenge the jungle for our needs and if we were not good at survival we died. If we moved to slow we were shot or beheaded. Once we got the unmarked boats we were shipped to Japan in the famous "Hell Ships." I don't tell people about the atrocities of this voyage because no one would believe it anyway. Once in Japan I was sent to Osaka where I worked in a "work camp" steel mill for 4 years. Again I don't tell people about the working conditions here because it can't be imagined or believed.

I am 90 years old now and have lived a great life. I have forgiven the Japanese and am at peace with what happened, But as hard as I try, I just can't forget.
I hope I won't forget!


Blogger Boudie said...

Great post to read on Memorial Day. Feel like there isn't enough parades and such today in the valley. Very thankful for all the tough old bastards who fought so i can play today.

1:55 PM

Blogger MtbAllDay said...

Wow. One of the battling bastards of Bataan. It probably was worse than we could imagine.

9:12 PM

Blogger JC said...

Great post! Makes me feel how lucky I am. Nice blog.

6:32 AM


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