Much later in the war, her brother was wounded fighting in Okinawa. While recovering in a military hospital stateside, his uncle's name happened to come up in conversation and it turned out another patient had known him. In fact, the man had been on a life raft in the Pacific with him!
The two soldiers had been taken POW by the Japanese in the Philippines and put on a boat to Japan, where many prisoners were forced into slave labor. But this ship didn't make it. The Japanese transported the prisoners on unmarked ships and many of them were bombed by the United States.
This story is not unique. It could be told about thousands of young men POWs, but the pain of it is singular this woman who wrote me. Her father served in WWI, and her two brothers in WWII. The man who lost his leg in Okinawa, also lost his lively good cheer. It's hard not to ponder what might have been, had war not interrupted their lives. Click here for the story of a hell ship survivor.
We must ponder as well, the men and women coming home from war today. Not only what might have been, but what we as a community, as a culture, as a country, are doing to help them heal from the anguish of war. Has your family been touched by war? Have you seen healing happen?
I'd love to hear from you.