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Former Enemies

GUEST,Norton1 28 May 01 - 01:13 PM
Clinton Hammond 28 May 01 - 01:19 PM
gnu 28 May 01 - 02:43 PM
Amos 28 May 01 - 02:48 PM
Little Hawk 28 May 01 - 03:40 PM
katlaughing 28 May 01 - 03:51 PM
thosp 28 May 01 - 03:53 PM
Charley Noble 28 May 01 - 04:12 PM
RichM 28 May 01 - 05:37 PM
catspaw49 28 May 01 - 06:24 PM
mousethief 28 May 01 - 06:26 PM
GUEST 28 May 01 - 06:28 PM
RichM 28 May 01 - 06:39 PM
catspaw49 28 May 01 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Dancing Mom 28 May 01 - 06:47 PM
Big Mick 28 May 01 - 08:37 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 28 May 01 - 10:02 PM
John Hardly 28 May 01 - 10:38 PM
catspaw49 28 May 01 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Norton1 28 May 01 - 11:28 PM
Sorcha 28 May 01 - 11:47 PM
Wolfgang 29 May 01 - 05:05 AM
John Hardly 29 May 01 - 07:52 AM
GeorgeH 29 May 01 - 08:30 AM
LR Mole 29 May 01 - 11:34 AM
katlaughing 29 May 01 - 11:56 AM
Mrrzy 29 May 01 - 12:07 PM
katlaughing 29 May 01 - 12:07 PM
mousethief 29 May 01 - 12:23 PM
Kim C 29 May 01 - 12:29 PM
Lonesome EJ 29 May 01 - 03:16 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 12 - 04:39 PM
michaelr 13 Mar 12 - 07:40 PM
alanabit 14 Mar 12 - 04:29 AM
YorkshireYankee 14 Mar 12 - 06:50 PM
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Subject: Former Enemies
From: GUEST,Norton1
Date: 28 May 01 - 01:13 PM

This from a close friend -
FORMER ENEMIES

Some years ago, while leading a church group on a tour of Pearl Harbor, I stood among the clergy and their spouses in the gleaming white-arched and covered Memorial above the USS Arizona. One minister in our group, a man from Maine, had been there on December 7th, 1941 — the day the Japanese flew in to sink our Pacific Naval Fleet. He had not been aboard the Arizona, but his ship had also been hit. He described vividly the horror of being aboard the flaming and sinking vessel as bullets flew and bombs roared. As I listened, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a Japanese tourist entering the Memorial.

It was the man's fine clothes — long tie, buttoned sports jacket, and shiny brown lace-up shoes — that initially attracted my attention. In Hawaii, professionals like lawyers, corporate executives, soldiers and ministers seldom, if ever, wear ties or jackets. Even network television news anchors wear open-collared aloha shirts.

This man, dressed as he was, stood out. Two women walked with him. The older one I took to be his wife, the other perhaps an older daughter. Both wore conservative dresses and fancy shoes. The man appeared to be in his sixties, and while he may have spoken English, I only heard him speak Japanese. In his left hand, he carried, almost shyly, an ornate and obviously costly multi-flowered wreath about eighteen inches across.

Our group's veteran continued to speak as we clustered around him. He described being caught below deck: feeling disoriented as the ship took on water where he stood, fire coming from above and the smoke stealing his breath. His buddy lay dead at his feet as the young sailor struggled in the darkness to escape, fear and adrenaline propelling him to the surface. Everyone in our group was so engrossed in his story, that no one, except for me, noticed the Japanese tourist and his family who walked quite near to us.

As I watched, the tourist stopped, turned to his wife and daughter and spoke to them. They stood quietly, almost solemnly. Then the man straightened his tie, first at the neck and then near the belt, and tugged at the hem of his jacket. As if in preparation, he squared his shoulders, took a deep breath, and then exhaled.

Alone, he somberly stepped forward toward the railing at the water's edge above the sunken warship. The other tourists swirled around him. From what I could see and hear, they were apparently all Americans. They were talking, laughing, looking, asking questions; some were listening to our minister's story, but none seemed aware of the tourist who had captured my attention.

I don't believe the Japanese man understood the minister's words. As I listened to one man and watched the other, the Japanese tourist came to the rail, bowed at the waist, and then stood erect. He began to speak; I heard his words but could not comprehend them. However from his tone and the look on his face, I felt their meaning. His manner conveyed so many things at once — confession, sorrow, hurt, honor, dignity, remorse and benediction.

When he had finished his quiet prayer, he gravely dropped the flowered wreath into the seawater — the same water the minister kept mentioning in his reminiscence — and watched as the wreath floated away on the tide. The man struggled to remain formal, to keep face, but his tears betrayed him. I guessed he must have been a soldier, a warrior of the air, whose own plane had showered the bombs and bullets that had torn through our soldiers, sinking their ships. It struck me that he had come on a pilgrimage of repentance, not to our government, but to the gravesite of those young men whose lives he had taken in the name of war.

Stepping backward one pace, the Japanese veteran then closed his eyes and bowed again, very deeply, and very slowly from the waist. Then he stood tall, turned around and rejoined his family. His deed done, they began to leave. All the while, our Minister veteran continued his narrative. He and the group were oblivious to the poignant counterpoint occurring behind them.

But I was not the only American to witness the Japanese man's actions. As I watched his family leave, I noticed another American step away from the wall on which he had been leaning. He was dressed casually, and wore a red windbreaker with the VFW emblem on it. He had a potbelly, thinning hair and held his hat in his hand. I assumed the man was a WW II veteran. Perhaps he had served in the Pacific, I thought, and was himself on a pilgrimage.

As the Japanese family walked by him, the American stepped directly into their path, blocking their way. I immediately tensed, fearing a confrontation. The startled Japanese tourist, who had been deep in thought, stopped short, surprise and sorrow mixed on his face. His family, eyes on the ground, stopped bruptly, then crowded closer around him.

But the American simply stood at attention, once again a strong, straight-backed soldier. Then he raised his right hand slowly and stiffly to his forehead, saluting his former enemy. The American remained in salute until the Japanese, with dawning understanding, returned the gesture.

As the tourists milled by, the two men stood as if alone, joined by their shared pain, glories, honors and memories, until the American, while remaining at attention, slowly lowered his arm and formally stepped backward one pace. The Japanese tourist, when his arms were both once again at his side, bowed formally to the man in front of him. To my surprise, the American returned the honor.

Neither said a word. Neither had to. Their solemn faces wet with tears, expressed to each other in a universal language what could never have been said in words.

I watched as the two men, their reconciliation complete, went their separate ways, united in a way I had never imagined possible.

By Peter Baldwin Panagor

Make Peace -


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 28 May 01 - 01:19 PM

yes


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: gnu
Date: 28 May 01 - 02:43 PM

If that doesn't bring tears to your eyes, you've no heart.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Amos
Date: 28 May 01 - 02:48 PM

Sweet Jesus, what a picture. Many thanks.

A


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 May 01 - 03:40 PM

Thanks from me as well. That is the truth.

- Little Hawk


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 May 01 - 03:51 PM

Norton1, thank you, thank you. I wish my uncle had lived to read this.

Indeed, Make Peace.

Mitakuye Oyasin,

kat


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: thosp
Date: 28 May 01 - 03:53 PM

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 May 01 - 04:12 PM

Not a dry keyboard in the house...


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: RichM
Date: 28 May 01 - 05:37 PM

As I foresee the future, we (humans) will continue to send our young men and women to war. They will go willingly, and with a sense of honor. Only later, will they realize the full implications and burden of accepting that task.

Yet, it is this innate sense of compassion, as displayed by these two veterans from opposite sides, that gives me hope that the human race can be weaned from war.

I did not meet my father until I was 4 years old, in 1946, and he returned from 4 years in Europe. I have a 21 year old son,--I don't think parents present and future want to see our sons and daughters die over and over again...


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 May 01 - 06:24 PM

That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame,
And on each end of the rifle, we're the same."

..........."Christmas in the Trenches"... John McCutcheon

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: mousethief
Date: 28 May 01 - 06:26 PM

How many Americans have done the same in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, I wonder?

Alex


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 01 - 06:28 PM

Or Britsh in Dresden?


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: RichM
Date: 28 May 01 - 06:39 PM

Who knows? But it's a noble gesture...


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 May 01 - 06:43 PM

I think there are some who may have opposing views too, but as far as Hiroshima goes, there have been a couple of specials and of course the 50th Anniversary that I've seen and there were some similar stories and very touching moments.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: GUEST,Dancing Mom
Date: 28 May 01 - 06:47 PM

An amazing story. Thank you. Sharon


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 May 01 - 08:37 PM

In another thread, I described my feelings about my former "enemies". It came nowhere near the telling of this incident. While all will be touched by this story, those who have faced old prejudices, those who have not ignored the lessons taught by the conflict in which they fought, those who have looked at the faces of the "enemy" and saw themselves looking back.........we understand this in all the shades of its telling.........and I for one am in your debt for the sharing of it. Thanks.

I have always been troubled by people who think that Memorial Day is a day to thank Veterans. It is not. It is a day to remember those who fell. It is a day to remember the children who were comrades in arms and never came back. In my own heart, it is a time to remember that there were those who fell "across the divide" as well. On Memorial Day I alway remember one young man that I killed. As I was checking him for intel, I came upon various personal effects including a picture of wife and child. A lighter such as many servicemen on our side carried, and other things. I was struck each time, by what my Grandmother told me about "finding what we have in common, and celebrating that which makes us different". My experience wasn't uncommon. In fact it was fairly stereotypical. But every Memorial Day as I cry for the friends that I lost...........I find myself remembering the ones that I killed, and all those that fell on the other side...........and crying for them as well.

Never forget, and teach your kids. Maybe then we have a chance.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 28 May 01 - 10:02 PM

exellent thread, it definetley makes you think. i hope all the people who say it should be all music read this thread,sadly they probably wont.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 May 01 - 10:38 PM

1000 Candles, 100 Cranes
Rich Prezioso

My grandmother had three sons
She dreamed about her children's children
Then came 1941
Only one son would see the war end

Joseph died marching in Bataan
Frank on the sands of Iwo Jima
The day the bomb deystroyed Japan
She thanked God and Harry Truman

She blamed the Godless Japanese
For having crushed her sweetest dreams
On thousand candles for my sons
Every day I will remember

In Illinois, far from her past
Miss Nakamura still remembers
She was six when she saw the flash
That turned the world to smoke and ashes

Mother taught her daughter well
Run from the fire to the river
There she found a living hell
But not a mother or a father

Though she survived with just a scrape
Her family vanished into space
One thousand suns, one thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

My grandmother had three sons
She never dreamed she'd have a daughter
But at the age of eighty-one
She met a nurse named Nakamura

It was a question only meant
To make some talk and pass the hours
About a picture by the bed
A photograph of two young soldiers

Hatred and anger stored for years
Slowly melted into tears
One thousand candles, one thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

I've a picture in my mind
Of two women slowly walking
August 6th, 1985
Walking to church to light a candle

And the once asked me to explain
Why grown men play such foolish games
One thousand candles, one thousand cranes
Every day I will remember


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 May 01 - 10:40 PM

Hey....It has musical content. I quoted a line from "Cwristmas in the Trenches." But in any case, don't worry about it or about those who bitch.....It just limits your own enjoyment. Forget about 'em!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: GUEST,Norton1
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:28 PM

Thanks to all who commented - I especially related to Mick. I still see that little guy break from the bush and drop to the sand as my rifle silenced him forever.

My wife's Dad, who passed on Saturday, was one of the Sailors who helped to clean up Nagasaki in 1945. I have no idea what he thought about it. It was what killed him in the end - at least the memory of it.

The guy who sent the narrative to me flew Thuds over North Viet Nam during the war. He wrote a new version of "House of the Rising Sun" on his knee board coming home from a mission where his wing man was blown to bits by a SAM missle. Makes my hair stand up to hear it.

Peace Brothers and Sisters.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:47 PM

oh my. when will we ever learn? snot on the keyboard again.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 May 01 - 05:05 AM

Or British in Dresden?

Just for the record, nameless GUEST:

Symbol of Reconciliation

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 May 01 - 07:52 AM

I seem incapable of proofreading past all the code.



1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes
Rich Prezioso

My grandmother had three sons
She dreamed about her children's children
Then came 1941
Only one son would see the war end

Joseph died marching in Bataan
Frank on the sands of Iwo Jima
The day the bomb deystroyed Japan
She thanked God and Harry Truman

She blamed the Godless Japanese
For having crushed her sweetest dreams
One thousand candles for my sons
Every day I will remember

In Illinois, far from her past
Miss Nakamura still remembers
She was six when she saw the flash
That turned the world to smoke and ashes

Mother taught her daughter well
Run from the fire to the river
There she found a living hell
But not a mother or a father

Though she survived with just a scrape
Her family vanished into space
One thousand suns, one thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

My grandmother had three sons
She never dreamed she'd have a daughter
But at the age of eighty-one
She met a nurse named Nakamura

It was a question only meant
To make some talk and pass the hours
About a picture by the bed
A photograph of two young soldiers

Hatred and anger stored for years
Slowly melted into tears
One thousand candles, one thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

I've a picture in my mind
Of two women slowly walking
August 6th, 1985
Walking to church to light a candle

And they once asked me to explain
Why grown men play such foolish games
One thousand candles, one thousand cranes
Every day I will remember


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: GeorgeH
Date: 29 May 01 - 08:30 AM

Thank you for this post . . . a greatly appreciated perspective

And to complement the comments about Dresden. As I recall (having no direct connection with either city) Dresden is "twinned" with Coventry in the UK, which probably suffered the worst bombing in the blitz here (not directly comparable with the assult on Dresden, I realise). I recall a performance of Britten's War Requiem in which the two cities were involved.

George


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: LR Mole
Date: 29 May 01 - 11:34 AM

I have two sons...


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 May 01 - 11:56 AM

John Hardly, thank you for that song. Tears won't stop for all the postings. Here resides the best of humanity and I am reminded, once again, of this miracle called Mudcat.

LR Mole, I was so grateful the day my son passed beyond the usual age of draft. May you, too, see that day come and go with no cause for concern.

Thank you, Norton1. Sorry about your father-in-law. I had one uncle kill himself a few years ago directly because of what he experienced as a Marine during WWII.

kat


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 May 01 - 12:07 PM

If I have anything at all to say about it, my sons will NOT go "willingly" to war. And I also fully agree with the poster who'd like more people to differentiate Thanks to LIVING Veterans (Veteran's Day) from Thanks to the FALLEN, whether in the Armed Services or not (Memorial Day).

Whew. When I can see again, I might comment further.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 May 01 - 12:07 PM

Friends, please take a moment to read this webpage, Mariko Terasaki Miller. You often hear me complain about the conservative nature of Wyoming and how much in the boondocks it can be, but this is about a woman, who lives here, and whom I am proud to call my friend. I am espcially proud that she lives in my town.

Her Ameican mother married her Japanese father in 1931. Mariko "Mako" was born and raised in Japan for most of her life. He parents' courtship and life of dimplomacy before, during and after WWII, as well as Mako's experiences, have shaped her life's work. I think she is a shining example of a person who is out there everyday trying to make sure we remember and "teach our children well."

Thank you,

kat


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: mousethief
Date: 29 May 01 - 12:23 PM

Wow, Kat. Neat lady. Thanks for posting that link!

Thanks everybody for this thread.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Kim C
Date: 29 May 01 - 12:29 PM

Soldiers don't get thanked enough. I thank them every chance I get.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 May 01 - 03:16 PM

I guess I didn't take away from that story the sentiment that "all war is evil". That is a rather naive and simplistic view, I think. What I gleaned was that the greatest tragedy of wars is that young people must die in them, and that the great respect and shared experience of two former enemies may tie them together with a bond that few others can comprehend.

A wonderful story.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 04:39 PM

I just found this thread. I am the author of Former Enemies. The American who told the story at the Arizona that day, died a couple of years ago. I was in a store in Portland, Maine about a month ago. The manager looked very familiar. I asked his name. He was the son of the story teller that day. I told the son about that day. He had never heard his dad tell that story. He said his dad never spoke of the war. I am honored to have heard his tale told, and to have witnessed reconciliation that makes me cry every time I think of it. Thank you all for your thoughts in this thread. Gratefully, Rev. Peter Baldwin Panagore, Maine


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: michaelr
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 07:40 PM

Thank you, Reverend. Not all threads deserve to be resurrected after 11 years, but this one does.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: alanabit
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 04:29 AM

I read this thread at the time. I can add nothing to it other than to thank all the posters above.


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Subject: RE: Former Enemies
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 06:50 PM

Didn't see this the first time 'round; am grateful it's been revived and that I did see it this time. And how wonderful to hear from Rev. Baldwin himself all these years later... very special!


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