Remember WWII

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By Evangeline Murillo

Tea For Two

Thursday, December 5, 2013

IN A few days, we have to bow our heads and say a prayer in respect and memory of people who perished on December 8, 1941 from the air attacks of the Japanese during World War II. Baguio was the first place in our country to be struck and the last one to be left by the Japanese. It was liberated by the Americans only on April 26 of 1945. December 8 of this year is the 72nd anniversary of Baguio's unfortunate assault.

As our grandparents and parents would relate, dead bodies were strewn all over the city. Many ran for refuge to the Baguio Cathedral but sadly, a big number did not make it. On their way, they got hit by shrapnel from the bombs. The target was Camp John Hay. Other attacks came by land and the undeclared war surprised everyone. On the same day like a tail that followed a path, the bombing went through Manila and other strategic places. World War II came barely three weeks before Christmas! It came with a nightmarish suddenness catching the Fil-American forces of Gen. Douglas MacArthur off guard and our people ill-prepared for the tragedy that followed.

Japanese bombers and Zero warplanes swooped down with firebombs and machine guns towards their military targets. It was December 8 in our country, December 7 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. American planes, hundreds of them, four engine bombers called Flying Fortress, troop carriers and a new squadron of B-17 parked on the runway of Clark Airbase, Pampanga, Nichols Airbase in Parañaque, the airfields of Iba, Zambales and Sangley Point in Cavite, Basa airbase in Lipa , Batangas, airstrips of Subic, Olongapo, were all caught by surprise and paralysed. Our history books say that the Japanese air attacks were in close coordination with the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor which destroyed most of the 7th fleet of the US Navy. World war II brought a tragedy and suffering without measure. Our country then had only five years to go before its promised independence but the assault of war rendered our nation's dream of economic prosperity and political self-rule, broken. The war brought death to about a million of our countrymen and devastating ruin to the economy and all other institutions of our land.

We liken now to this military assault of 72 years ago, the calamities that have befallen our nation, Storm Yolanda being the most recent and disparaging of all. The military attacks of the past could be countered and stopped, but the wars of nature are to be endured when and where they come. We cannot stop them from plundering our land. What revenge or counteraction can we humans undertake against the onslaught of nature? Science has to go on researching for an answer and a solution to nature's fury.

The effects of war and calamities are similar if not the same: the depression of the victims, the personal values forgotten or violated, the ruined self-esteem, the poverty that overwhelms and eats on the spirit. Things will never be the same for the victims and the survivors. Perhaps, our nation stands strong only because we Filipinos pray and pray a lot. We have to go on praying then, to our God who must answer in various ways, in many forms and in His time. The cycle of life goes on, revolving and evolving until a transformation best fits and sooner or later, we shall rise again! On the 72nd anniversary of a tragedy, may we remember to be good in our hearts, to stop sneak attacks on our brethren and loved ones in our personal ways and help one another become better people, better citizens and better members of humanity. God bless Baguio, our nest and our home, and God bless our nation, Philippines!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 06, 2013.


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