Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Something Else for Memorial Day
The other day while combing the discard book bins at Goodwill, I pulled out what looked like it was probably a high school year book from Hawaii, from, say, sometime in the Fifties or early Sixties. Didn't check it for what it really was until yesterday, and then, I was astonished.
Turns out this yearbook is a yearbook -- well, a record of three and a half years -- of Navy Seabees in the Pacific in World War II, and as such it is one of the most remarkable documents of the War in the Pacific I've ever seen.
What follows are scans of some random early pages of this journal to give you an idea of how these men of the Fifth Naval Construction Battalion saw their experiences in the War, who they were, their dedication, the adversity they knew every day, their triumph. As far as I can tell, this yearbook was produced soon after V-J Day, perhaps as early as September 1945, or possibly as late as sometime in 1946. The men depicted are of my father's generation in many cases (he was drafted in 1944, when he was already middle-aged, and served as a legal officer in the Army Air Corps through its transformation into the Air Force.)
Their basic decency shines through this record. Though we might today criticize some of their commanders' decisions and actions, it is not because we would dispute their humanity or their commitment to building a better world.
What strikes me about this journal most of all is the contrast between these truly amazing, and I think heroic, men in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945 and the sham of "heroism" and "defense of democracy" that the Busheviks have made of our military, and the insults and contempt with which they treat the brave men and women who continue to serve as best they can a corrupt regime, rotten to the core.
There is no comparison. The pride I feel for the SeaBees in their Journal of Two Journeys contrasts so strongly with the shame I feel for what the Busheviks have done to their honor, and the honor of the American People, I can't help but be overcome.
Click on the images to enlarge them to full size.