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Dallas 2013 124

So many lives lost…no good reason.

Dallas 2013 126

So many more lives lost…still no good reason.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Dallas 2013 122

Friends all told us that the Pacific WWII Museum was a “not-to-miss” site in Fredericksburg, TX.  The internet affirmed this as a top place to visit as well.  At first, it seemed peculiar that this particular museum was in this Texas town.  That was before I learned that Admiral Nimitz was born and lived in this very special town in the Texas Hill Country.

He built the Pacific fleet that kept the Japanese Imperial Navy from invading the USA.  By sheer providence and determination, the American forces were able to come back from the devastation at Pearl Harbor, mount an effective counter attack at Midway Island and change the course of the war.

Every Island in the march to beat back the Japanese was a costly effort both in lives and armament.  Valiant men lost their lives in this intensely strategic theater of war.  Then, the Japanese resistance took on a more intense vigor when allied forces battled their way on to Japanese soil.

Major Doolittle led the way with his heroic attack on the Japanese mainland with his fleet of B-25 bombers.  They did not cause much actual damage but the psychological blow was incalculable.   However, before American forces ever landed on the shores of Japan, they were ordered to halt their advance.

An ominous page in history now turned.

From the brilliant nuclear research of our nations’ best physicists and engineers, a new and horrible weapon was invented.  The Manhattan Project set out to produce a bomb to end the war and they succeeded.  A cataclysmic bomb was created.  It was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  A single bomb evaporated tens of thousands of people in a single blast.

These two bombs have so far been the only nuclear attacks made in human history.  When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and estimated 90,000–166,000 people died.  Half died in the blast and the other half died as a result of the blast in the days to come.

60,000–80,000 died in Nagasaki.  The nation was rocked.  All in the world was aghast at the power in this killing endeavor.  The war in the Pacific ended because of these two forays into modern warfare.

Human history is forever marked by the realities of these two tactical strikes.  The Emperor of Japan surrendered unconditionally.  Finally, the war was over in Europe and now in the Pacific.  Peace had come at such a high price in human life.  May this keep us from going to war again.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Dallas 2013 105 - CopyIn the seemingly endless conflict among countries in Asia, China is almost always involved just due to her sheer size. However, the resources in that great land are vital aspects for interests in China.  This great potential has made her the focus of international domination for centuries.

China covers around 3.7 million square miles of land.  Natural resources make her the envy of many countries.  This is not a new phenomenon but an ancient one.

Before the second world war, China had a longstanding and stalwart relationship with the USA.  In large part due to the aggression of Japan, China sought an ally during the Japanese days of imperialism.  This friendship kept China from falling into the hands of dominating countries.

The decade before the Great War, China was politically weak.  It made her a vulnerable prey to countries who lusted after China’s natural resources.  Some way some how this giant of a nation needed a hero.

General Ho Shai Lai filled the need of someone who loved his country, China.  He could forge international relationships for her benefit and also take up arms in her defense.   Ho was trained in the US Army Staff College in Kansas.  There he learned the skills of warfare and forged friendships for himself and his country.

During the deeply and intensely volatile struggle with Japan, it was Ho who cultivated relationships with the USA in China’s favor.  He gained invaluable experience and national position during China’s War of Resistance.  As complicated as the international struggles were, friendship with the West was China’s insurance against a hostile take-over.

When Japan first struck out with its military might, China was the target.  China was the first nation to be attacked but also the first to fight back.  It was a bloody struggle that counted casualties in the millions.

Not only were the casualties grave, the injustices and atrocities were abominable.  China was embittered due to the vicious and inhumane treatment under the invaders.  Her valiant people struggled to survive deeply appreciative to the USA for its aid in the battle.

General Ho serving under Chiang Kai-shek led, fought, negotiated, served, represented his nation before the world.  His presence is forever a part of the history of China managing to live through WWII.  While millions died, tens of millions survived.  This brave and devoted patriot deserves the credit for many and much of China’s emergence as a nation developing national unity, growing economy and political regard.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Austin 2013 167I was young when that picture was world news.  Jackie was stunned.  The world was in shock.  Oswald pulled the trigger and assassinated the President of the United States of America.

My life as a young adolescent could not comprehend the events of that day. Everyone was glued to their black and white televisions.  We mourned together.

The short pause for our grieving was short-lived.  Lyndon Johnson was immediately sworn in as the President.  His wife was there.  Jackie Kennedy, now a widow was a witness to the swearing-in ceremony, hastily done on an airplane.  All LBJ could say was that he would do his best to lead our great country.  That is all anyone could do.

It was a task so great that the nation and the world would not know until later how much he had accomplished.  Vietnam was a scourge.  Civil rights was a powder keg.  The nation was in political turmoil.  Yet, this one man could keep his family life intact and some measure of normalcy for the  many Americans groping for peace.

Austin 2013 170Politicians surrounded him.  Each one wanted what was best for his constituency and his own reelection efforts.  Nevertheless, LBJ tirelessly learned about each necessary vote for key initiatives.  He wielded influence on those politicians with a determination to do what was best for the country, to do what was right.

The racial conflict in the nation was reaching historic and epic proportions.  Hatred from prejudiced people threw all reason out and pressured their politicians to act in accordance with racist legislation and legal pressure.  LBJ would stand against this powerful mood of bigotry.  As President, he direct Federal resources and authorities to bring steady pressure against the injustices of racism.  He personally strove to right the problems of racism in the country.

IMG_2221His words spoken at Gettysburg are moving.  LBJ wanted Emancipation to be a reality in America, not just a Declaration.  Freedom, education and opportunity should be equal to all Americans.

The sadness in his eyes when Martin Luther King was assassinated told the story of his passion for equality among all Americans.  His resolve to stand on King’s shoulders to advance measures that would make a difference in America were historic.  The innocent testimony of his daughters spoke of the true honesty of  their fathers value of all citizens of this great country made great strides against the unfounded hatred imbedded in the lives the few.  LBJ was a remarkable president during an extremely difficulty time in history.

photo credit: brucefong photography