BE CAREFUL WHO YOU HATE--- ESPECIALLY DURING WARTIME.
I find History, fascinating. Since childhood, I’ve been particularly-interested in learning as much a possible about WW II, the Japanese, and Kamikaze Pilots.
In the beginning, most of the recruits were in their twenties and they were honor students, college graduates—Japan’s intellectually-elite. Near the end of WW II, Japan--- desperate for more and more Kamikaze Pilots---began training teenage farm boys with little education and college students whose military deferments had been cancelled.
Contrary to most reports, Kamikaze Pilots were not, officially, deployed in Japan’s December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese Pilots who flew their planes into American Warships-- during the Pearl Harbor Attack-- were instructed to do so by the top officials of the Imperial Japanese Navy-- ONLY IF-- their planes had been so-badly damaged they were unable to fly-back to the waiting Aircraft Carriers.
Officially, Kamikazes (Divine Wind) made their debut nearly three years after Pearl Harbor when they descended from the sky---in unison—during the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf. At the time, Leyte--an island in the Philippines--was occupied by a number of American Warships. More than 5000 Kamikaze pilots died while taking down 34 American ships.
During the nineties, I was under-contract to teach students in China. Each year, I returned to America for a four-week visit, compliments of the Chinese Government. On one of my flights back to China, Air China was forced to stop in Tokyo, Japan, due to bad weather. Passengers were treated to an overnight stay in one of Japan’s finest hotels and an afternoon of supervised sightseeing. I was delighted when our tour included a visit to a Japanese War Museum near the Imperial Palace. Inside the impressive display were countless rooms dedicated to millions of Japanese who fought, died, and survived WWII. Naturally, I spent most of my time in the rooms that honored Kamikaze Pilots.
There were original photos of young men as school children and later, in military uniforms. Many of the young Pilots were photographed in flight suits--- standing beside their planes--- and holding university degrees. Most touching to me---was the large display of actual letters-- pilots had written BEFORE their final mission…short but sweet notes and letters lovingly-written to their girlfriends, wives, parents, and young children.
One 23 year old Kamikaze pilot wrote: “Dear Mother and Father. Thank you for bringing me up to be a true man. I died smiling-- so please smile. Do not cry for me.” Another pilot--a 22 year old--- wrote, “I attack in just four hours. I shall be shining among the clouds, drifting and tumbling forever. This is my last letter-- your loving son.”
My personal thoughts:
War is never pretty or fun-- or something to anticipate--like a class reunion. BUT---when War is inevitable--it should be fought with honor, an indomitable spirit, and with relentless strength. War's ultimate goal--for both sides-- must be: TO WIN.
All these years later, I can’t hate Japan or their Kamikaze Pilots. Actually, I feel a strong sympathy for all men, whether Japanese, Germans, or Americans--all who believe in fighting for their country. Countless men--throughout history-- fought and died to keep their countries free and safe and--- they still do. Regardless of where soldiers live, how they look, or what language they speak, soldiers everywhere have much in common. Like American soldiers, all men have hearts, hearts that love family, home, and country. But…
I find it troubling that the American People WERE and ARE-STILL taught to HATE our "enemies." During the forties-- WHEN THE AMERICAN MEDIA REPORTED ON WWII---they clearly stated that the ugliest and most-vicious acts of war were committed by America’s enemies--- Japan and Germany. Throughout the “COLD WAR”---everything was RUSSIA’S FAULT and—even today—Americans are taught to HATE RUSSIA. For most of my life, I’ve watched America’s “leaders” routinely-- promote HATE as a powerful weapon against our "enemies"-- abroad. I find it extremely-alarming TODAY--- to see Politicians with Power and a clear-cut agenda---use HATE as their “weapon of choice”-- to purposely-divide the American People.
Quite-Possibly, America’s real enemy doesn’t live far away--in another country. In my opinion—America’s enemy lives close-by---maybe-- all-around-us. More recently, my eyes have been opened to one, very-disturbing possibility. America’s real enemy just-may-be--- its own Government.