Summary: Why love is so crucial in our Christian walk and use reflections of Memorial Day to describe that.
The Beatles song, Love, love, love is all you need was a popular song. Young people of that time echoed that sentiment in their actions and in how they lived their lives. They thought this was a new concept that their parents just wouldn’t or couldn’t get. But the concept was far older than the Beatles song or the 60’s generation, it went back to the time of Christ. In our reading in John we hear, “17This is my command: Love each other.
Today is Memorial Day Sunday. On Monday, many of us will go to cemeteries to remember those who have gone before us. Many of those who died serving their country and especially this year it will be poignant as we reflect on the war that has raged in the last few months.
War. War has been around since the beginnings of time. My children’s generation has never known a war till recently. The only wars my generation can recall are the Vietnam War (and that one only vaguely), the Falklands, and the first Gulf War.
World War II is a time in history to me. Not a memory that I have but something I have seen on TV documentaries and movies, read in history books, or have heard stories told of it. I can only know of this era through these mediums whereas many of you have experienced it first hand. You lived that time, you felt the losses, endured the trials and tribulations, recognized the atrocities, and made the sacrifices. This era not only saw the tragedies but also saw some special gifts that came from the horrors.
Mitsuo Fuchida led in history one of the greatest and most highly successful sneak attacks recorded in history. Under his command was a squadron of 860 specially selected airplanes. Fuchida had been specially chosen for this mission having accumulated the highest amount of flight hours and flown the most missions in his country. On December 7, 1941, nearly 62 years ago, a day that would live in infamy and change the history of the United States dramatically. Mitsuo Fuchida’s squadron bombed Pearl Harbor, successfully disabling the US Naval fleet, not only extensive damage was done to battleships and battleships lost, the US military received a high casualty and death toll. The Japanese had done something that the US had not foreseen.
Fuchida became one of the most hated Japanese in the United States and one of the most highly acclaimed in Japan. Fuchida was glad to honor his country through his patriotism and service.
One man who was angered and hated what the Japanese had done was a young B-25 bomber pilot, Jacob DeShazer. On April 18, young DeShazer was given the opportunity to fight back. He was sent on a dangerous raid over Japan. Flying his bomber named, the Bat out of Hell, he set out. After dropping his bombs on the city of Nagoya, DeShazer lost his way in heavy fog and was forced to eject as his plane ran out of fuel. The Japanese captured the crew of the Bat out of Hell. They were taken prisoner, tortured by the Japanese, some executed and some threatened with their imminent death. For almost two years, DeShazer suffered with hunger, cold, dysentery, and watching his fellow prisoners die and was filled with overwhelming hatred of his Japanese guards.