Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Veterans, The Duke and Shanaica

This year, Corregidor Island’s “Tribute to All Filipino Heroes,” ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 7, at 9:00 A.M. It will include a wreath laying, tolling of a bell, and an address by Guest of Honor, Atty. Jose D. Lina, Jr., the son of a veteran and President of the Manila Hotel. Although we will be off island with our annual tour group, we hope that some of you might be able to join in this commemorative celebration.

A number of people have told us that winter never really happened in the northern 48 states this year. A Corregidor visitor from Green Bay, Wisconsin, told us that it only snowed a couple of times and that what little snow fell soon melted away. A snow mobile ride fund-raiser in northern Minnesota had to be changed to a truck rally in February, due to lack of snow.
Well, we’ve had abnormal weather here as well. This is supposed to be “summer,” with mostly clear skies, hot days, and warm nights. Instead, we’ve had lots of clouds, stretches of cool days and cooler nights, and even some measurable rain. We checked our newsletters for the past three years and the only mention we made of rain in March was: 1) that there wasn’t any rain; 2) there hasn’t been any rain for a few months; and 3) we didn’t expect any rain until mid-May at the earliest. However, on April 1, summer may have finally appeared, as it was the clearest sky and hottest temperature in quite a while.

A friend sent us some photos of John Wayne taken here on Corregidor in 1958. We have included them. Take a close look at the photo with the Duke having lunch. Do you recognize the person that is standing in the background? Write us if you think you know this person, who soon made front-page headlines on every major newspaper in the world.

We are excited about the Valor Tours Ghosts Soldiers of Bataan tour that starts this week. We were astounded to find out that we will have seven World War II veterans on the outing with us. Six of them are coming with a student and faculty group from the College of the Ozarks, where the students have come to know the veterans during their studies. We are impressed with the preparations required of the students in order to be granted the privilege of joining this tour. One of the veterans is a Bataan Death March survivor, and became a friend of Steve’s parents when they met at a POW conventions in the 1980’s. Three vets were captured on Corregidor, and another was captured in Davao. The remaining two were part of the liberation forces on Luzon three years later. In addition, we have sons and daughters of ex-POWs, some history buffs, and a man who was born on Corregidor and lived here until the war started. What a group we have!

In this year’s newsletter about the Christmas Eve party, we mentioned Shanaica, a girl whose left foot is severely crooked. We did not make an appeal on her behalf, but were secretly hoping that someone reading the newsletter would be stirred and in a position to take action. Sure enough, a couple from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whom Steve had shown around the island, contacted us sometime in January. They told us about a charity that their church sponsors which helps children with birth defects.

Steve approached Shanaica’s father and explained that an organization was available and willing to help her. He explained that the surgery would require a significant recovery time. Ultimately, the decision rested with the little girl. It was her life, her body; what would she want? The family talked it over, and eventually the father brought Shanaica back to Corregidor so that Steve could get better photos for the doctors to evaluate.

We were just informed that a representative has met with the family, and that the surgery is planned for late April. Because of the time required to recover, Shanaica and her mother will live in Manila for the next four to six months for therapy and ongoing observation. The family learned that the charity organization would cover the costs of the operation, all treatments, and lodging and meals for Shanaica and her mother during the entire time. Shanaica will have to miss a year of school attendance, but she is obviously a very bright girl and we are sure that this is all for the best. We feel that, if we were to accomplish nothing else during our time in the Philippines, being instrumental in providing Shanaica the opportunity to get her condition corrected would be enough. We are so thankful to the LDS for their work on behalf of Shanaica and all children with birth defects.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock

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