'OZ' - The 'Other' Side of the Rainbow - 5 new articles
Tinian Island, Pacific Ocean.
It's a small island, less than 40 square miles, a flat green dot in the vastness of Pacific blue.
Fly over it and you notice a slash across its north end of uninhabited bush, a long thin line that looks like an overgrown dirt runway. If you didn't know what it was, you wouldn't give it a second glance out your airplane window.
On the ground, you see the runway isn't dirt but tarmac and crushed limestone, abandoned with weeds sticking out of it. Yet this is arguably the most historical airstrip on earth. This is where World War II was won. This is Runway Able:
On July 24, 1944, 30,000 US Marines landed on the beaches of Tinian.... Eight days later, over 8,000 of the 8,800 Japanese soldiers on the island were dead (vs. 328 Marines), and four months later the Seabees had built the busiest airfield of WWII - dubbed North Field - enabling B-29 Superfortresses to launch air attacks on the Philippines, Okinawa, and mainland Japan.
Late in the afternoon of August 5, 1945, a B-29 was maneuvered over a bomb loading pit, then after lengthy preparations, taxied to the east end of North Field's main runway, Runway Able, and at 2:45am in the early morning darkness of August 6, took off.
The B-29 was piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets of the US Army Air Force, who had named the plane after his mother, Enola Gay. The crew named the bomb they were carrying Little Boy. 6 hours later at 8:15am, Japan time, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Three days later, in the pre-dawn hours of August 9, a B-29 named Bockscar (a pun on "boxcar" after its flight commander Capt. Fred Bock), piloted by Major Charles Sweeney took off from Runway Able. Finding its primary target of Kokura obscured by clouds, Sweeney proceeded to the secondary target of Nagasaki, over which, at 11:01am, bombardier Kermit Beahan released the atomic bomb dubbed Fat Man.
Here is "Atomic Bomb Pit #1" where Little Boy was loaded onto Enola Gay:
There are pictures displayed in the pit, now glass-enclosed. This one shows Little Boy being hoisted into Enola Gay's bomb bay.
And here on the other side of ramp is "Atomic Bomb Pit #2" where Fat Man was loaded onto Bockscar.
The commemorative plaque records that 16 hours after the nuking of Nagasaki, "On August 10, 1945 at 0300, the Japanese Emperor, without his cabinet's consent, decided to end the Pacific War."
Take a good look at these pictures. This is where World War II ended with total victory of America over Japan. I was there all alone. There were no other visitors and no one lives anywhere near for miles. Visiting the Bomb Pits, walking along deserted Runway Able in solitude, was a moment of extraordinarily powerful solemnity.
It was a moment of deep reflection. Most people, when they think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reflect on the numbers of lives killed in the nuclear blasts - at least 70,000 and 50,000 respectively.
"Suicide cliff" on the nearby island of Saipan
Saipan is less than a mile north of Tinian.... The month before the Marines took Tinian, on June 15, 1944, 71,000 Marines landed on Saipan.... They faced 31,000 Japanese soldiers determined not to surrender.
Japan had colonized Saipan after World War I and turned the island into a giant sugar cane plantation. By the time of the Marine invasion, in addition to the 31,000 entrenched soldiers, some 25,000 Japanese settlers were living on Saipan, plus thousands more Okinawans, Koreans, and native islanders brutalized as slaves to cut the sugar cane.
There were also one or two thousand Korean "comfort women" (kanjiin Japanese), abducted young women from Japan's colony of Korea to service the Japanese soldiers as sex slaves. (See The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War, by George Hicks.)
Within a week of their landing, the Marines set up a civilian prisoner encampment that quickly attracted a couple thousand Japanese and others wanting US food and protection. When word of this reached Emperor Hirohito - who contrary to the myth was in full charge of the war- he became alarmed that radio interviews of the well-treated prisoners broadcast to Japan would subvert his people's will to fight.
As meticulously documented by historian Herbert Bix in "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan", the Emperor issued an order for all Japanese civilians on Saipan to commit suicide. The order included the promise that, although the civilians were of low caste, their suicide would grant them a status in heaven equal to those honored soldiers who died in combat for their Emperor.
And that is why the precipice in the picture above is known as Suicide Cliff, off which over 20,000 Japanese civilians jumped to their deaths to comply with their fascist emperor's desire - mothers flinging their babies off the cliff first or in their arms as they jumped.
Anyone reluctant or refused, such as the Okinawan or Korean slaves, were shoved off at gunpoint by the Japanese soldiers. Then the soldiers themselves proceeded to hurl themselves into the ocean to drown off a sea cliff afterwards called Banzai Cliff. Of the 31,000 Japanese soldiers on Saipan, the Marines killed 25,000, 5,000 jumped off Banzai Cliff, and only the remaining thousand were taken prisoners.
Oh, yes...Guinness lists Saipan as having the best, most equitable, weather in the world. And the beaches? Well, take a look:
To be SO STRONG that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel
that there is something
To look at the
sunny side of everything and make your
optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to
expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the
GREATER ACHIEVEMENTS of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance AT ALL TIMES and give every living
creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have
NO TIME to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for
fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
There's a plane with 5 passengers on board: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Pope Francis, Angela Merkel, and a 10-year-old schoolboy.
The plane is about to crash and there are only 4 parachutes.
Trump says: "I need one. I’m the smartest man in the world and am needed to make America great again." He takes one and jumps.
Johnson says, "I’m needed to sort out Britain." He takes one and jumps.
The Pope says, "I need one as the world needs the Catholic Church." He takes one and jumps.
Merkel says to the 10-year old boy: "You can have the last parachute. I've lived my life, yours is only just starting." The 10-year-old replies: "Don’t worry, there are 2 parachutes left. The smartest man in the world took my school bag.”'
Bill Gate’s beautifully articulated views ....
I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad.
As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us:
- It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should to. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.
- It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.
- It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.
- It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet roll.
- It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine) as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.
- It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and to strengthen our family unit.
- It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do.
Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.
- It is reminding us to keep our egos in check. It is reminding us that no matter how great we think we are or how great others think we are, a virus can bring our world to a standstill.
- It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.
- It is reminding us that we can be patient, or we can panic. We can either understand that this type of situation has happened many times before in history and will pass, or we can panic and see it as the end of the world and, consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.
- It is reminding us that this can either be an end or a new beginning. This can be a time of reflection and understanding, where we learn from our mistakes, or it can be the start of a cycle which will continue until we finally learn the lesson we are meant to.
- It is reminding us that this Earth is sick. It is reminding us that we need to look at the rate of deforestation just as urgently as we look at the speed at which toilet rolls are disappearing off of shelves. We are sick because our home is sick.
- It is reminding us that after every difficulty, there is always ease. Life is cyclical, and this is just a phase in this great cycle. We do not need to panic; this too shall pass.
What hereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a great corrector. It is sent to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have forgotten and it is up to us if we will learn them or not.
Take care of your little family. All of a sudden I am seeing my kids again. We have time for each other