Page 3 7/29/45
Now for the quotes. Both Ced and Dave have written good long letters. They are two interesting to summarize too much yet too long to quote both in full, so I think I shall reserve Ced’s until next week. Dave, after comparing the experiences of Dan and himself and showing their marked similarity goes on to say: “Dan’s description of the V1’s reminds me of the Japanese Kamakazi (suicide) planes. The effect is the same but as it carries a pilot, it is more accurate. Here’s an account of the first suicide plane I saw. One day I was down at the beach when the air raid sirens blew. “Hit the dirt”. I dove for a concrete wall that stood in front of one of the numerous tombs on the island. I looked up and saw flak mushrooming all around a fly speck in the sky. All of a sudden it started to fall. “They got hit” someone yelled, and all the guys started to clap as though the fellow carrying the ball broke through the line and went over for a touchdown. Later we found that the plane hadn’t been hit but instead took a nosedive into a hospital ship. Hospital ships are painted white, have big red crosses on them and look like a Dollar Line steamer.
No other ship looks anything like it out here. No one will ever convince me that the Jap flying that plane was trying to hit any other ship in the harbor, which ship, by the way, was not empty. We’ve had quite a few discussions in our tent and how to avert another war. The only objection to my theory is that it is an immense job but I think if it will stop wars it should be done. It is that rather than play “Superman” as Dan so aptly puts it, the only way to stop all wars is to teach the other people of the world to live as we do. If you teach them the sin of killing, if you teach them Christianity, if you teach them and make them follow the rule of doing unto others as they would have others do unto them, I think – – I know – – it will stop all wars and make the world a better place in which to live. I know it is an immense job and almost impossible. When I presented this theory to the boys, one asked me if I’d spend my life in Japan teaching the Japs our way of life. He thought that would corner me but I told him that if my theory were carried out on a large enough scale so that it would really do some good, I’d be glad to spend the rest of my life in Japan or any other place in the world to accomplish this goal.
And I would too, because I am thoroughly convinced that it is the only way to have peace. World courts are no good. Do Traffic Courts or any other courts in the world stop crime? On the other hand, do children who are brought up to be good Christians and who are taught that they should treat other people as they themselves want to be treated, go out and kill or steal? I don’t think you’ll find it happens very often. What about the old adage, “All men are created equal”. How can there be equality of one group of nations rules another. Maybe I’m not looking at this thing from a broad enough scope as I realize that there are a lot of things to be taken into consideration, but I think that in time (a long time) it would avert all wars. Who is it that starts these wars? It always seems to be a group that starts their party by denouncing Christianity.
Kids are the same the world over. You’ve got to be awfully careful how you treat the youngsters because they are the tomorrow, and you’ve got to be awfully careful how you treat the older ones because they are the ones who form the minds of the younger ones. If you lord it over those you have conquered, they won’t like you any better for it. The kids here, and I’ve no doubt it’s true in Europe, run to seeing the big implements of war roll down the dusty country road or wriggle through the narrow streets. It is all new to them and they are inquisitive. And who in this world doesn’t like to get a smile and a wave of the hand from a stranger as well as a friend? These Okinawans will never forget the American soldier. They’ll never forget what the Japs told them of us and they will never forget how wrong the Japs were. They were told we were pirates, killers and pilferers. The Okinawans emerged from their hideouts in the caves and found the American soldier with this carbine on his shoulder, where it wouldn’t harm them, and his hand out stretched, with the palm up, holding candy and cigarettes. They found him with a smile on his face. They found him with wonderful equipment that saved the lives of Okinawans who would ordinarily have died if the Japs had been there. True, the invader had brought terror with him, had burned the houses, ruined the rich farmland, had destroyed every bit of quaintness on their island, but after it was all over, he brought food, medical supplies, protection, not only for himself but for the natives also. He shared what he had. Now, tell me, Dad, who are the children going to be that remember that smile, and who are the ones who are going to remember what he imagines as a cruel eye and a poker face.
For an overview of the Battle of Okinawa, click here.
Tomorrow, Grandpa ends this letter with a few thoughts about Dave’s Plan.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting more of the continuing saga of Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.
On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1941 as the war draws closer. The boys are all concerned about their own fate as well as that of their siblings.