Friday, June 24, 2016

PM Abe Reflects on the 71st Anniversary of the Fall of Okinawa

The following is a message from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe translated from Japanese on June 23rd, 2016.

Seventy-one years ago, Okinawa was the scene of a dreadful ground battle, with some 200,000 people losing their precious lives. I express my sincere mourning for the souls of those who fell on the battlefields and those who died suffering the ravages of war. The peace and prosperity we now enjoy exist atop the sacrifice of the war dead and Okinawa’s history of hardship and suffering. Reflecting on this, we will continue our ceaseless efforts to bring about a peaceful world.

At the same time, we will alleviate the burden of the United States military bases and work to ensure that tragic incidents and accidents never happen again. I will work to resolve one by one the various issues surrounding the United States military bases. I will also invest my utmost in the promotion of Okinawa so as to carve out a bright future there.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Son's Journey One Year Later

It was a year ago that I embarked on my famous journey to participate in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's Memory Day Ceremony held across from "The Wall" in Washington D.C. I had never been on a more significant journey filled with both awe and sorrow. It was there on that hot steamy Saturday morning that I inducted my late father Luis Eduardo Rosas-Luca Sr. into the VVMF Virtual Honor Roll. As the sole family representative and only son, it was a duty of utmost importance that I attend and bestow this honor for my late father who had served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966.
It has been year this weekend since I stood on that grass when I took this photo of the 300 families that were in attendance. It was very hot & humid with rain appearing here and there. In a sense, the overcast during the ceremony was fitting for in a sense it reflected both my happiest times and the complicated relationship I had with my father. The war in Vietnam had long passed yet the echoes of the war lived on through him and in unexpected ways through me.By accepting the connection to Agent Orange linking my father's death and my own health problems and thus further by extension that of my children's complications, the truth has set us free. There is no longer blame or the "Why Me?" or the fists waving at some unseen god's indifference to our sufferings. Both the problem and the responsibility is entirely man made and man owned. The important thing to know is that it was not our fault nor our fathers who were exposed to this toxin that damaged their genes before they brought us into the world after their tours ended. For the time being, there is no medical help or proper way to connect the toxin to our own complications that any government agency or medical insurance company will validate thus we are on our own. And while there is nothing that can be done for those of us carrying the multitude of ailments inherited by Agent Orange, we must all find our way to soldier on. In one sense I am grateful to know this community of sorts comprised of Vietnam Veterans and their families. I am grateful to know that I was not the only one who had a complex relationship with a war we did not fight that raged within our father's psyche. Knowing the truth has given me the freedom to learn, and to respect the man like I never knew before while he was alive. While much of the war may be never truly understood and its lessons lost on future generations, it is up to us the children of this war to carry on the legacy and honor our fathers who fought bravely on behalf of the unqualified against the unfortunate for an ungrateful nation. In this task, we shall never waiver nor shall we ever forget. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Taking Command: JMSDF's Captain Miho Otani

With so much sabre rattling going on in the South China Seas, we're happy to continue the follow the remarkable career of Japan's newest Captain of the Asagiri Class Destroyer JS Yamagiri (DD-152) Captain Miho Otani. As previously blogged here and elsewhere, Captain Otani is the first female Captain of a destroyer in the JMSDF. She commands a crew of 220 people including ten women sailors. She's come a long away since her days as a university student watching the Gulf War on TV wondering how she could make a difference. She is the mother of a twelve year old daughter and wife to another JMSDF destroyer Captain. 
Captain Otani is described as being both friendly and fair to her crew particularly to the concerns for her crew's families. Make no mistake, she sails into some troubled waters in the South China Seas and we believe she is more than up to the task. Hence, we at American Mishima wish Captain Otani continued success and to continue to make a difference out there. がんばって ください!