That’s My Sister?

(Another short story. Why not? Ukraine is in the news so much…)

Emo felt satisfied that he’d left that worrisome and fretful life behind and at last headed out to find his dear sister Mia. The only family he had remaining after wrecks and Covid, he really wanted to see his sister safe. From O’Hare to Warsaw would take a while, yet he though the time would seem to fleet by faster than the last seven months with no word at all from her. The Ukraine/Russia peace agreement took too long, for sure.

He got the supplies he needed and headed out to search for the medical outposts where she’d be likely to be. He recalled again about their last argument as she went to board the plane to Warsaw, how he told her they needed nurses here in the USA and all. She’d just extended her open hand to him to push him away and left anyway.

Most of the medical places were mainly abandoned but he did get info on where some were yet in operation. He visited every one with no luck. He filled his jeep tank from his Polish jugs as he went, glad to have bought so many. Then his smile melted as he arrived at a mass gravesite being unearthed. Oh, the stench! No way could anybody ID these rotting bodies!

He found the DNA trailer in the assembled investigation array. He explained his task. The Bulgarian scientist said he’d need something of hers to compare his results from the grave with. Emo unzipped his pack and brought out a small case he’d hope to not need. He lifted the small doll and handed it to the scientist, saying Mia had cut a swatch of her own hair to make it.

No matches there but he did get a copy of the report so he would not need to pull that case out again. The map he got pointed him to the next, then the next and then the next huge graves. He’d got used to sleeping in the Jeep and eating the military rations. After six of those sites, he came to an area still guarded. He was allowed in with instructions to stay alert as landmines were all over the place.

He’d need to head back to Warsaw soon for more gas if the next couple places went bust. He pulled up to the trailer after being quickly checked by guards, then more guards appeared at the trailer. He had to get out of the Jeep with his pack and hand it over. They proceeded to check his pack and all in it. The men passed the doll around laughing, giving him odd looks. A young woman hurried from the trailer and swiped the doll from them.

“Where’d you get this?” She shook her head briskly and started to repeat the question in Ukrainian when she saw Emo. “YOU! You came!” She ran over to him and their exuberant hug made the guards nearby and at the entrance applaud and whistle happily.

Day of Infamy

Hello!

I’m writing this on the “Day of Infamy” as December 7th was the day the imperial Japanese made a devastating attack on the US Navy Base of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There in the mist of morning, thousands of sailors and others were killed by kamikazes and bombs. Many ships were sunk, including those full staffed. Have you seen the memorial at Pearl Harbor, like the boat that takes visitors to the sunken USS Arizona? As a former US Navy Sailor whose ship anchored at Pearl, I felt so broken hearted for the sailors, their families, my own family losses, and the resulting war that culminated with atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I have learned over the years that the way to address such an attach is not to kill more of them than they killed of us. True, the US forced Japan to surrender and the Pacific war ended. It was true that our bombing was celebrated in the US, movies portraying related actions heroically. The world feared us and our pride soared. Other countries got atomic weapons. We dug survival bunkers.

When we retaliate, we share the aggressor’s evil and wrong. Yes, we needed to respond. It is not clear how this event was built; had we opportunities to prevent the attack? Many investigative reports say we probably could have avoided the event altogether. Did we let it happen because of our fixation on the war against the Devil Hitler? Did our hubris in finally, belatedly going over to rescue beleaguered Britain and France, our acting as saviors, reveal how our ignoring the threat of Hirohito may have happened?

I am not trying the make the US seem as the secret instigator of all this, nor do I follow any other conspiracy. I am an honorable veteran. I am hoping we will think about these circumstances, how working with Japan earlier, how helping Europe fortify against Hitler earlier, how being aware of the brewing unrest and hate and acting with tolerance and forgiveness early on may have gutted this most horrible of worldwide wars. Can we prevent war when Russia tries to overtake the Ukraine? I think many are attempting to do just that.

Tolerance, peace and forgiveness are components of Love and Light, a subject that makes me think of flowers. I have also been to the Netherlands and Belgium. And have placed flowers at some tombstones erected in the massive international military graveyard near their borders.