Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: The last full measure of devotion

  • Our journey through the Hawaiian isle of Oahu started with a better understanding of what happened on December 7, 1941. We met Pearl Harbor survivor Alfred Benjamin Kameeiamoku Rodrigues. We gained deeper appreciation for the valor of the Greatest Generation. We also learned more about and better understand the Japanese kamikaze pilots. I was deeply touched by an exhibit on the USS Missouri that offered a rare glimpse into the young kamikaze pilots or Japanese tokko tai (special attack forces). The exhibit, displayed outside of Japan for the first time, featured farewell letters and poems from the pilots to their family and loved ones. In one such letter, 29 year old pilot Captain Masanobu Kuno writes to his wife and young son: "The two of you must get along well together, study hard and help mother with her work. Father can't become your horse to ride upon, but the two of you must take care of each other. Father is a happy man. He's riding a big bomb that will chase away all our enemies. Become as great as your father, and avenge your father's death." A kamikaze pilot struck the USS Missouri on April 11, 1945. Fortunately there were no serious injuries or death to the US sailors. The pilot, believed to be 19-year-old Setsuo Ishino, was killed in the attack and his body was found among the wreckage on the deck. The USS Missouri’s Captain William M. Callaghan ordered the pilot be given a military burial at sea. The sailors on the Missouri created a handmade Japanese flag to drape over the pilot’s body. The crew stood at attention and saluted as TAPS was played and a Marine honor guard fired a traditional rifle salute for the Fallen. Understanding the horrors of war is impossible to comprehend. Even if you've experienced it yourself, it still may be impossible to comprehend. World War II Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent Ernie Pyle attempted to help his generations of readers understand. As war in Europe was coming to a close, Pyle started a column to mark the occasion. Unfortunately he never finished it. A draft was found in his pocket the day he was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific island of Ie Shima. It was April 18, 1945. A portion of Pyle's final words is posted on the USS Missouri: "There are many of the living who have had burned into their brains forever the unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered over the hillsides and in the ditches along the high rows of hedge throughout the world. "Dead men by mass production — in one country after another — month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer. "Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. "Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them. "These are the things that you at home need not even try to understand. To you at home they are columns of figures, or he is a near one who went away and just didn't come back. You didn't see him lying so grotesque and pasty beside the gravel road in France. "We saw him, saw him by the multiple thousands. That's the difference..." As we go into this 4th of July weekend, let us also remember it is Independence Day. Let us be grateful enough to stand with honor and salute with respect the Stars and Stripes of Old Glory. She is our Flag, a gift paid in blood, and delivered in devotion, by those who gave the "last full measure of devotion." We may not need to try to understand, but let us at least remember. Always remember. Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share. Les p.s. Take 13 minutes today to remember those who gave the "last full measure of devotion." Les Patterson loves to share stories and the “Monday Morning Boost” is his way of sharing a story or two with family, friends, and clients. Les believes every person, business and organization has a story worth sharing. Since 1997 he has enjoyed finding compelling ways to share those stories through writing and producing radio commercials at the Cache Valley Media Group. Discover how he can help tell your story at www.CacheValleyMediaGroup.com. Feedback and comments are welcome at les@cvradio.com. ©2016, Les Patterson. All Rights Reserved.