While I wait to resume my studies, I currently work in a senior day facility in suburban Denver.
Odd, I know, but shut up because I’m going somewhere with this.
Although I had seen this particular white-haired old man before, I had no idea there was a real story behind him.
You see, he landed on Iwo Jima (February 26, 1945-March 19, 1945).
I should have asked him a more intelligent question, other than: ‘Did you get hit?’
That was really dumb on my part, and I really should have asked a more meaningful one than that, but the first thing I did was thank him for fighting for my freedom and then I snapped a salute.
The next thing I noticed is that he was a Marine-the first ones in and the last ones out.
One of the intelligent questions I did ask was why Japan was our ally in World War I, but our mortal enemy in World War II? That was a question which he could not answer. I suppose he was too busy trying to eek an existence which Herbert Hoover’s disastrous economic policies wrought upon our country.
I owe a debt to those men and women that I can never pay, because the Axis Powers were fucking brutal-especially Japan. While the Germans had their concentration camps, the Japanese had comfort women-sex slaves whom they would capture as spoils after every invasion, such as China, Korea, Manchuria, and the like.
Yes, the Germans had comfort women, as well. However, the Japanese were notorious for this engaging in this level of inhumanity. In fact, to this very day, there are still women in the Philippines, Cambodia, China, and other Asian nations who demand reparations from the Japanese government for what was done to them
The Marine I spoke to was aware of our third atomic bomb, which we were prepared to use if Japan refused to surrender after the deliveries of Fat Man and Little Boy (August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945-Hiroshima and Nagasaki).
Here is something that even I didn’t know. According to The Daily Beast, the United States actually had twelve atomic bombs ready to go.
The tragedy is that President Truman didn’t even want to drop the first two to begin with. However, Operation: Downfall, the land invasion of mainland Japan would have gone well into 1946 or even longer, and both Truman and Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew that Japan would fight to the last man.
Remember all those old men who were found in the 1970s who didn’t know the war was over? Here’s one even better.
According to The Guardian, two more were discovered in 2005, and they remained in hiding for fear of being court martialed on the charge of desertion!
These men, aged 85 and 87, wept upon learning the news.
Now you know why Harry Truman did what he did in August of 1945, because that is what we would have faced, as these old men were not ready to lay down their antiquated arms.
This is why I respect the old American veterans of World War II and the Korean conflict, as Iraq “veterans” really never had it so hard. All I have to do is look at the difference between a World War II veteran who fought at Iwo Jima and someone who bucks for sympathy because he was in Fallujah.
That Marine to whom I spoke fought for my freedom, but the pathetic clown who wants flowers and candy because he failed to accomplish the mission and may even be guilty of a war crime or two in Iraq doesn’t have the right to shine that Marine’s boots.