Thursday, July 21, 2011

"There is some good in the worst of us, and some evil in the best of us.  When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I grew up with listening to tons of war stories - especially when July came around!

I was raised by women who were in their 20s, 30s and 40s during World War II.  My mother was in her early teen years.  They lived through the war and told me about leaving their home in Hagåtña to live on the farm in Ungå'guan, a part of Barrigada; of having to bow before the Japanese; of the two Japanese priests brought here to spread Japanese propaganda and so on.

So what a surprise one day when they started to tell me about a good Japanese.  He was an officer in the Japanese Imperial Navy (Kaigun), as he always wore white (the Army wore brown).  Prior to that, he had spent some time in the U.S. and spoke some English.  He was also a Catholic, of all things!

He was stationed in Barrigada and would come to my family's ranch house many nights to pray the rosary with them.  My grandma also did his laundry.  My great-grandmother gave him fresh eggs from our farm, and he gave her canned fruit.  I was given the impression that, because of his friendship with the family, the other Japanese soldiers in Barrigada were given to understand to leave my mother alone, the only girl in the family and in the first flush of womanhood.  I might add that my mother was beautiful, but then again I am biased.

Eventually he had to move on and he was never heard of again.  But my folks did tell me the story.

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