January 16, 2014
In light of the recent passing of the last (surviving) Japanese Soldier- Hiroo Onoda- from the Second World War… I remembered this story from when Bill was still in Highschool-
Lolo wrote this a few years back for Bill’s homework in Social Studies. I’ve forgotten what particular question was being asked, and so has Bill. I presume it had something to do about interviewing someone (an elderly) about his/her experience during the Japanese occupation, how it changed his/her perception of the “enemy” and how it impacted his/her life.
Lolo wrote some general conclusions of how it was during the Second World War. And continued on, by sharing with us his own personal experience when he encountered one Japanese soldier: “But there is one incident in my life that changed my thinking. We cannot stay in the place where we used to live before the war because of the fear that at my age, 15 years old, I can be conscripted into the Japanese (army)… So we stayed with our relatives…” — who lived near the beach. One day, while I was near the shore and trying to fish, I saw a Japanese soldier approaching. I was scared out of my wits and didn’t know what to do. So, I stood stuck in my place while gathering up some semblance of courage. Upon reaching my spot, the Japanese soldier tried to engage me in some kind of conversation through hand gestures. I was trying to understand what he wanted to say when he pointed at my “fishing pole.”
Unfortunately, Bill and I have forgotten what happened next. I’ll try to ask Lolo the next time I see him. But as far as I could get out amid the cobwebs in my mind, the Japanese soldier was either trying to teach him about fishing OR he borrowed Lolo’s fishing pole, fixed it, so he can make a better catch and handed it back to him.
All in all, it was an ordinary event happening in extraordinary circumstances. War is never good. Nobody can claim to be the victor in the end. There could be no hero, only a man who had to make sacrifices. Whether that sacrifice be made for the good or the bad, we will never know. BUT it is always a sacrifice of morality, faith and humanity. Everybody loses somebody or something, a loved one or his sanity. However, there is always that pinch of hope that stripped bear of the most unfavorable circumstances in a person’s journey, GOODNESS will prevail because man is inherently made in the image and likeness of God- who is hope, love, and forgiveness rolled into one.
Moments of God in All Things do not only happen in times when the sun shines the brightest. It is when we live in fear, in darkness, in despair that God is most present. It is up to us to see, to hear, to accept that in moments of reality, little snippets of God’s Amazing Grace are present. It is always better to have HOPE.
In remembrance of those who have lost their lives. Whether they be the victors, friends of the victors, the enemies, or friends of the enemies. No life is worth sacrificing for any kind of war. +