Saturday, June 27, 2009

Virginia's heartwarming story

To all of you who wondered, we pulled into the gate on Friday at the exact minute of our scheduled arrival, following a 4 hour flight to Tokyo and an 11 hour flight to Detroit. Our son picked us up. Neither of us sleeps well on planes so we were awake about 31 straight hours before we went to bed. The good news is that we slept from midnight to 8:00 AM and seem to have bypassed jetlag. Thanks to all of you for your emailed good wishes for our vacation.

We are looking for stories to share with our readers during our vacation. Topics would include things to do with the Philippines in general or Corregidor specifically. The following is an example that was sent to us.

Dear Steve and Marcia,

My name is Virginia Rollins (Natividad-married name) and I was born during the war. 1943. My father, who was about 18 then, escaped from the dreaded Death March and joined the Guerrilla underground forces with the Filipinos under Agustin Marking. My mother's family had then moved to the mountains of Antipolo, Rizal, to escape being raped by the Japanese and there they met. My mother took care of the sick American soldier Clayton Merle Rollins Jr. whom the guerrillas had to leave, and that was how they met.

Anyway, to cut this epic-like story short, my father came back from the USA several times to look for me and finally found me when I was already 19.. Before he passed away in Texas in 1981 (he was originally from Connecticut) he requested that his ashes be brought to the Philippines because he had wanted to be buried here among the people who saved his life.

A television show helped us in 2002 to finally throw his ashes along Bataan and Corregidor shorelines. The noted journalist Cheche Lazaro took charge of asking the Phil. Air Force to help us.

I am overwhelmed by your decision to stay in a place that was so important in the life of your father. When people read the news article about you, now they will understand why my father wanted to be buried here.

I am not sure if your father was one of those who visited Bataan last 2002. If he did, I may have met him.

I am now 65 and soon will be 66 this November and I am so glad that there are Americans who would like to remember how World War 2 happened in this part of the world. I happened. I was my father's war baby.

I would surely like to hear how you are doing there in your "chosen island." Your decision to live there is indeed admirable. I hope everything works out well.
Thank you for remembering WW2,

Mrs. Virginia Rollins Natividad

We asked Virginia for permission to email the above, and she responded:

Thank you, Steve and Marcia. I really would like to share this story with the world, or with anyone who had a dad, or a grand dad in that war. And I wish to help, now that I have retired from teaching, fellow half-American, half-Filipino children of the war find their fathers. In my own way, that's how I think I may pay tribute to the men of WW2 and help heal the unspoken wounds in the hearts of these children who must now be grown-ups or senior citizens by now.

I know your endeavor at the moment is a kind of healing, too.

Good luck and best regards to both of you,

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