Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day

Currently we are caught up in a “wind convergence” weather pattern that had made it impossible to complete the basketball tournament before the island Christmas party scheduled for December 12. We were able to hold games on ten successive days to finish the regular season last week. Since then, however, that until yesterday it had rained enough each day that play was impossible on the uncovered outdoor court.

Battery Grubbs was the regular season champion at 6-2. Having already clinched the number one seed, they lost their final game to Battery Way in what was a must-win for Way. Way finished tied for second with Battery Geary at 4-4, and the two will face each other in one of the semifinals. Batteries Crockett and Hearn, each finishing at 3-5, played last night for the privilege of meeting Grubbs in the other semifinal matchup. Hearn won an exciting 58-56 game, so Crockett’s season is over.

We are much more likely to see certain creatures while it is wet from the rains. Good examples are hermit crabs and frogs. Marcia was clearing leaves from the gutter – an eight-foot section of bamboo perfect for the purpose – and was surprised to discover a frog hiding out in it. As you can see from its feet, it would have no problem climbing up to the roof of our dirty kitchen, but it is not something we expected to find there.

Last week a number of U.S. Marines, who were on R&R from the USS Essex, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship (in essence a small aircraft carrier), spent the night on Corregidor. We hiked with them on several of the trails around the island and to the top of Malinta Hill. It was our honor and privilege to spend time with some of our service members. The oldest is 41, the youngest barely out of high school. These men, two of whom are helicopter pilots, put their lives on the line routinely for our continued freedom.

Today, December 8 already here in the Philippines, and the 7th in the U.S., marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. We hope that your local newspapers and TV shows make mention of the fact. Exactly 70 years ago today, Steve’s father Walter was operating a searchlight just a few miles west of here, on the Bataan peninsula. Over the next day or two, he witnessed some of the Japanese bombing of American installations in Cavite across Manila Bay. Life was never the same for him and the tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers who would be fighting against the Japanese in the next few months. Most, like Walter, became prisoners of the Japanese.

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