Monday, August 15, 2005

V-J Day

V-J Day. Sixty years ago today, victory in Japan, and thus, the world. Americans, British, Canadians, Australians, all rejoice, while in the Pacific, the sorrows are beginning. With the power of the atom the Japanese have been annihilated into submission. For it is not just another bomb, it is one that will, indeed, change the world.

Vernon Victor Beacham. Just another of thousands of the boys fighting for their country, drafted but proud to serve. Barely twenty at the end of the war, he is serving on a ship in the Pacific as a radio operator. Wondering if he would ever see his brothers again, wondering would the Japanese ever give in? And on this day, sixty years past, he knows he will soon be going home. Because of that terrible, wonderful invention, that prevented casualties for the Allies, yes, but wreaked its horror on unknowing civilians and soldiers alike. He is not a casualty, and he is my grandfather.

This is truly a war unlike all before it, and this time no one is fool enough to call it a war to end all wars. The participants, I know, are left with a deep love of America, and a penchant to ride to the rescue. And some may never be able to forgive the Japanese, for no matter what they learned and what the Navy gave them, the Japanese are the enemy. They stole time from his life, and indeed, the lives of many of his comrades. He is alive, as is his family, and will live the American Dream. But he will never forget.

Vernon Beacham marries Sonora Divers, has fifty-eight years and counting of the Dream. And one day his granddaughters grow up, and they wonder, "What was it like? How did you survive?" But he cannot speak of it. America gave him an education for his brilliant mechanical mind, and these stories he tells. But of combat, of the things his young mind saw and absorbed, I rarely heard. Until something changed, until perhaps he realized his mortality and began to tell of his experiences.

And now I listen, try to understand all I can. Because I know that without him, and others like him who sacrificed so much, my country would not be what she is today. And perhaps without the atomic bomb he would have been among the many 'further casualties', and I would never have come to be. I don't know what would have happened, but I do know that I am proud of him. He taught me to love America, to be active and do what I can for her, and to believe that through our efforts she can change, become better. So on this day, the sixtieth anniversary of V-J Day, I wan to say thank you, for the veterans of World War II, Europe, the Pacific, the Home Front. Your stories will live forever, and your efforts will not be forgotten. Remember...


At 8/15/2005 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

That was well written Nettie. Your posts reflect well what's important to you. Which is usually your country, or your socks.

At 8/15/2005 04:50:00 PM, Blogger Jeff H said...

Socks or no socks, you knocked mine off. Great rememberance, and tribute. Never forget.

At 8/15/2005 05:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post. It was creative and well written.

At 8/15/2005 05:10:00 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Wow, great post! Maybe that's why I've been thinking about our service men and women all day today.

Your Sis In Christ,

At 8/15/2005 07:55:00 PM, Blogger Cori said...

You sure do know your history! I had no idea that today was such an important remebrance day! Hi Nettie-I miss you!

At 8/15/2005 09:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had no idea what today was, this is a great tribute that you've done to honor this day

At 8/15/2005 10:54:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Great post! Thank you Nettie.


At 8/15/2005 11:22:00 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

I was six years old when that war ended. I remember the joy and relief shown in my family. Both grandma's smiling through happy tears, "their boys were coming home."
Our neighborhood, celebrated by hugging one another, dancing in the yards and streets, clanging kettle lids together and shouting that the war was over. The enemy had surrendered.
The rationing books were put away, and daddy filled his car with gas which he had been unable to get. Mama bought a bag of sugar and we all got new shoes.
War is a dreadful thing, but often necessary.

At 8/15/2005 11:23:00 PM, Blogger Beast7 said...

Superior, Nettie. Pass on my best regards from another old soldier to one of the "Greatest Generation." (Brokaw got that right, anyhow.)

My kin all did their time in the European Theatre, and bad as that was, they all talk(ed) about it. The men in the Pacific theatre, now that's a different matter entirely...

At 8/16/2005 04:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a gal in uniform, that was outstanding. Here's some words from my ROTC studies -

"I have received this afternoon a communication from the Japanese Government. ...I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, which specifies the unconditional surrender of Japan. ...Arrangements are now being made for the formal signing of surrender terms at the earliest possible moment."

President Harry S. Truman, 14 AUG 45

"Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed."

Gen. Douglas MacArthur aboard the USS Missouri, 02 SEP 45

In contrast to the revisionists, I agree with the decision to drop the A-Bomb.

God bless you, Alice

At 8/16/2005 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Joe said...

It was a terrible thing! But we didn't attack them, they attacked us. Therefore it was a necessary thing.

I do not know where those are coming from who think we should lie down and be taken over by some despotic system, which is what would happen if we did not use our extrordinary power.

Would that we will always use it responsibliy.

Thanks to all who served and are serving.

At 8/16/2005 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Rhonda said...

Great Post! Just Outstanding. Thanks for the little history lesson.

At 8/16/2005 01:25:00 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I'd love to meet the guy. Our WWII vets really are the best generation.

At 8/16/2005 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Marla Bean said...

I always love anyone who fancies history and writes it very well.


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