News

    Veterans Remember Tragedy of War in Pacific

    Yi Suli

    The Japanese military had waged war in the Pacific since 1931. But throughout the 1930s, the United States remained at peace with Japan. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt moved the U.S. fleet to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to deter Japan from attacking. What happened later was to change history. VOA Chinese Branch Reporter Yi Suli interviewed some U.S. veterans of World War Two in the Pacific. Leta Hong Fincher narrates.

    Early Sunday morning, December 7th, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes carried out a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan. "Dec 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy…"

    When the United States entered the war, 20-year-old Norman Hatch was a combat photographer for the Marine Corps. Two years later, he was sent to document the U.S. battle with Japan on the Pacific island of Tarawa.

    "I was probably within about 30, 40 feet [10 – 12 meters] of the enemy in one shot,” recalled Mr. Hatch, “And I was able to catch the shot that was the only time--not only in the Pacific but I think in the European war--in the same frame of footage, I had in the foreground our own guys fighting and in the background I had the Japanese."

    The Marine Corps film, called "With the Marines at Tarawa," later won an Academy Award for its vivid portrayal of the 1943 battle.

    "It was a battle that lasted three days -- 76 hours -- on a piece of ground one-third the size of Central Park in New York,” Mr. Hatch remembered. “And in that short period of time, there were 6,000 people killed, and 2,000 wounded."

    In February 1945, U.S. marines made their first landing on Japanese territory, at Iwo Jima. Norman Hatch was there to film it.

    "If we thought Tarawa was bad, for the way the Japanese had dug themselves in, Iwo was the worst of them all," he said.

    On the battle's fifth day, marines raised the U.S. flag at Mount Suribachi--an event immortalized by the famous photograph, and by Mr. Hatch's team of cameramen.

    Mr. Hatch is still haunted by the carnage that he witnessed. He says the United States was justified in carrying out its nuclear attacks on Japan because he believes the Pacific war would otherwise have dragged on for years longer.

    "There was no desire within the Japanese psyche to quit. And so we would have had to go through all of those islands that made up the mainland of Japan and fight."

    Daniel Martinez is a historian at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. He says that for most Americans in the 1940s, the phrase "remember Pearl Harbor" was a cry for vengeance. But 60 years after the war's end, Mr. Martinez says that feeling of vengeance is gone. "Now 'remember Pearl Harbor' is a term of reverence, to remember the dead, to remember that this war was tragic for both sides."

    Stephen Cromwell is a Pacific war veteran who still reveres the dead on both sides. He was a corpsman on the battleship USS Missouri when it was struck by a Japanese kamikaze suicide pilot in April 1945.

    "I was able to recover his body and I called up to the bridge to ask if I should throw it overboard,” said Mr. Cromwell. “Captain Callaghan said, ‘No, when we secure, take it down to the sick bay, and we'll have a burial for him tomorrow.’ "

    Mr. Cromwell says the captain of the USS Missouri, William Callaghan, was impressed by the kamikaze pilot's bravery and insisted on burying him with honors.

    Several months later, aboard the same USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.