I am Deweese Martin from the Nevils community.
I was 13 years old on December 7, 1941. I was chasing a hawk down Martin-Lanier Road in front of our house, as it flew from power pole to power pole.
I was hoping to get a shot at it with my .22 rifle, which was bought from Sears Roebuck for $3.75. Almost everyone had chickens back then, and any large hawk was automatically a predator as a chicken hawk. Therefore, kill it if you can.
My sister came out onto the road and told me of the news of Pearl Harbor, and I wondered where Pearl Harbor was. I was knowledgeable in geography. In fact, an elementary school teacher wrote on my report card that I was unusually interested in world affairs. Even though, I could not remember if Pearl Harbor was in the Philippines or the Hawaiian Islands.
Many years later, I had the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor and go to the USS Arizona Memorial, which was built upon the submerged battleship and entombs more than 1,000 sailors who lost their lives when it exploded.
I also visited the Punch Bowl, an extinct volcano, and saw the nice memorial there to the men who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor and other places in the Pacific.
I visited Singapore and took the train up the Malay Peninsula to Southern Thailand. There, a Thai acquaintance showed me where the Japanese landed by ship. He also laughed when he told of Japanese airplanes landing on the boggy airfield and turning on their nose.
At Singapore, the Japanese inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of British armed forces. I visited Taipei, formerly Formosa, from which the Japanese airplanes flew to bomb the airfields in the Philippine Islands. General McArthur was criticized for not mounting an airstrike on the Japanese bases in Formosa and procrastinated until the Japanese struck the airfields in the Philippine Islands, catching the B-17s on the ground and destroying most of them.
I visited Corregidor where McArthur made his escape from the Philippines by PT boat to the Del Monte Plantation on a Mindanao Island airfield then by B-17 to Australia. I visited Hong Kong where the Japanese inflicted some of the worst atrocities of the war when they massacred everyone in the British hospital: patients, nurses, doctors and all.
It was reported that the floor was slippery with blood.
I then took a trip into Red China by train, an overnight trip, and around to Portuguese Macau and by hydrofoil boat back to Hong Kong.
If anyone wants to read of the atrocities and the brutality of the Japanese, please read, "The Rape of Nanking (China)" by Iris Chang, who, apparently overwhelmed by her own writings, killed herself.
To this date, the Japanese government has not made an official apology or even acknowledged their wartime crimes as the Germans did about the Holocaust. Individual Japanese have come forth with their own apologies.
In my travels, I visited military cemeteries at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii, the PhilMerican cemetery at Manilla, the Philippines, the British and Australian cemeteries at the Bridge over the River Kwai and at one of the D-Day beaches in France.
All were well-kept and very impressive. The cemeteries exhibited respect and honor for those who lost their lives in World War II.
The cemeteries were in Hawaii (United States), Manila (Philippines), Bridge over the River Kwai (Thailand) and Normandy (France).