Right now I’m sort of in a holding pattern. I’m waiting on more information from OBON 2015 before I send the flag their way. But I also realized I’m sort of in limbo for other reasons. As you can see from the picture, OBON 2015 wants as much information about the flag as humanly possible. I’d love to go full-on novel in this section of the form, but I know absolutely nothing about it, other than what my dad has told me he knows, which isn’t a whole heck of a lot.
I wanted to track down my great uncle’s story whenever I got around to it, you know as a ‘nice to have’ piece of information about my family. But knowing that finding out as many details as possible will help in the search, this task gets bumped up to priority number one.
My friend is a genealogy guru, so he’s helping me track down details while I parallel his efforts by talking to my cousin about his dad. But I’ve never met the guy before, which makes me a little nervous. It’s not really the easiest conversation to start with someone you’ve never met.
Anyway, I’ll post more when I find out, but before I go, I’ll end with something that popped into my mind. When he came back from the war, he had a lot of animosity toward the Japanese people. He was angry at them and wouldn’t have anything to do with them or anything remotely associated with them or their country. I know this was a common sentiment back then and that for the most part these feelings have pretty much died out. And as a war veteran myself, I get where he’s coming from.
During my tour in Iraq, I would see men, women and children, and my heart would go out to them. Most of them were like you and I, just trying to get by and do what’s best for their families. They were doctors, teachers, lawyers, bakers and pain-in-the-ass teenagers trying to figure out who they were and where they fit in on this planet. And despite the fact that their country was being torn apart all around them, they went on as best they could. But the moment you let your guard down, you could get yourself and your military brothers and sisters killed. And without knowing you’re doing it, you develop this “me or them” mentality. But what other option do you have?
And yes, I had those exact same thoughts and feelings that my great uncle had. And they’d only intensify when I saw a military vehicle that had just been blown to kingdom come by an IED, because I knew that some poor family’s life back home would no longer be the same. It would make me angry, even though that word doesn’t do justice to the feelings such a sight evokes.
So I completely understand how and why my uncle felt the way he did, and I don’t think he was a bad man for it. It’s what war does to a person. The best we can do is try to right whatever wrongs we can once everything is said and done and the dust has settled.