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Author: donhurst (page 1 of 2)

FOR THAT ONE DAY

You may spend one month pondering the true meaning of Mitsuo Fuchida’s book titled THAT FOR ONE DAY, like I did by reading and rereading the first five parts of his book until l understood his Japanese way of feeling, thinking and life. After doing that, I started reading the last really significant important life changing sixth part of his book in which he describes experiences which led him to a life changing experience by reading, understanding, accepting and practicing Christianity and Jesus. Prior to this time, in his book, he describes his climb as a Japanese military official who finally became the commander of the 360 Japanese airplanes which bombed Pearl Harbor killing nearly 3,000 Americans.

On the day after his leading the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech in Washington D.C. in which he stated, “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air force of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack. The distance of Hawaii from the attack made it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During this intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace. The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused sever damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu. Yesterday, the japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night, Japanese forces attached Guan. Last night the Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked wake Island. And this morning the Japanese attack Midway Island. Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implication to the very life and safety of our nation. As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all the measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that out people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the inbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.”

On August 6, 1945 the United States of America overcome the Japanese bombing by bombing Hiroshima in which over 80,000 were killed and three days later bombed Nagasaki killing another 40,000 and many thousands more died later as a result of these bombings. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945 citing the divesting power of “a new and most cruel bomb.” I wondered what could ever bring the people of these two great nations together again after such retributive bombings.

Let’s begin with my overview of the first five parts of That For One Day in which the young and inexperienced military officer Mitsuo Fuchida thought that the battleships of Russia, France, Germany, England, United States and Japan, even with big cannons were of no more value in protecting the worlds leading military countries from military encroachments from one another and others than was the road in China or the Pyramids in Egypt to their people. Consequently, he gradually and with relentless determination trained Japanese airplane pilots to surprise bomb enemy country’s battle ships which would help Japanese to ascertain military strength and superiority. It took years of his persistent leadership development coupled with secret training of the growth and development of Japan’s military flying forces transported by aircraft carriers to get ready to accomplish the bombing. Ultimately, Japan recognized Mitsuo Fuchida’s military leadership by empowering him to command 360 airplanes to bomb America’s fleet of battle ships in Pearl Harbor in which over 3000 Americans were killed.

You may read Mitsuo Fuchida’s book, That For One Day about the endless activities and training that enabled him to become the leader of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor or you may read my concise review of his book on this my Don’s Blog in my Harmonyhurst.com website. Of course reading of my concise review of his book can save lots of valuable time and energy because it doesn’t take long to read my concise review of Mitsuo Fuchida’s book and your comments can be made on my website, but if you wish, you may of course purchase your own copy of his book and study it for yourself. In the fifth part of part of his book, he describes Captain Doolittle’s command of 16 American airplanes which bombed Hiroshima killing 80,000 Japanese and Nagasaki killing 40,000 Japanese, not counting those who died fowling the deadly bombings.

All During this time and afterwards until Mitsuo Fuchida’s death, his wife keep twenty boxes of his writing in a closet. After his death, she gave these twenty boxes to a son who had become a US citizen living in New York City. Successful writers, Douglas T. Shinsalo & Tadanori Urabe were eventually able to persuade this son to allow them to translate his father’s Japanese writing into English with his military picture on the front cover of a book.
Five sixths of this book relates to the training, development and deployment of Mitsuo Fuchida as the Japanese Commander of The Attack on Peal Harbor. Almost the entire book is about his getting ready for That For One Day.

Once again, I need to state to the reader of this my Don’s Blog, that It is only in the last part of this book in which Mitsuo Fuchida’s important and powerful life changing CONVERSION is mentioned and described in which he is introduced to Christianity and Jesus which liberates him and other Japanese citizens as well as some citizens of The United States of America and other countries, in spite of his and his country’s cruel and absolute surprise bombings of both Pearl Harbor and the United States bombing of Japan’s Hiroshima and and Nagasaki.

After his bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mitsuo Fuchida tried to melt into Japan’s obscurity without notoriety. He built his own scant farm house and gardened to have enough food for himself and his family. But after his own Japanese country was bombed in 1945, he other outstanding leaders in the bombings were requested to come to Tokyo to help officials of his country and America to learn how they could learn to live and work together through the auspices of an International National Tribunal.

One day as he was walking with other officials to his participation in the International National Tribune session in Tokyo, a street stranger handed him a pamphlet titled, I WAS A JAPANESE PRISONER OF WAR by Jacob DeSazer, a bombardier of the 16th plane of the Doolittle bombing Squadron which carried out the first raid on Hiroshima. After his everyday Tokyo meetings, he read this pamphlet in the evenings. It turned out that this pamphlet was a testimony of an American who flew one of Doolittle’s sixteen airplanes that had bombed Hiroshima. After his plane did the bombing, like most of the other Doolittle bombing airplanes, his airplane ran out of gasoline. He parachuted into Japan, was captured and imprisoned. It was during his imprisonment that he had a change of his own heart and mind from which he originally sought to get even with the Japanese for their bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the pamphlet, the writer explained that he had a change of mind and heart due to his renewed relationship with God through Christianity and Jesus.

While attending the International Tribune, Fuchita learned of some Japanese soldiers who had been held as prisoners in America and when returned to Japan they told heart warming stories of some Americans where they were held prisoners in America. He interviewed them and heard stories of their having received personal medical care by a 20 year old woman who came to their prison and tended their wounds for six months during which time they were finally able to convince her to tell them the reason why she faithfully cared for them. She explained that some Japanese soldiers had cut off the heads of her missionary parents in an outlying Japanese ruled country. The wounded Japanese soldiers finally learned her reason and motivation for caring for them in an American prisoner war camp was motivated by Christianity and Jesus which prompted Mitsuo Fuchida to want to learn more about her Christianity and Jesus which he had already learned about by reading the pamphlet, I Was A Prisoner In a Japanese War Camp.

Reading the pamphlet and hearing the safely returned Japanese soldiers stories of having been cared for by a 20 year old woman in one of her countries American Prison War Camps, motivated Mitsuo Fuchida to want to learn more about Christianity and Jesus. Thinking that the most convenient way of accomplishing this would be for him to get a copy of the Bible and read it for himself. He learned it was not an easy task to find a Bible in Japan in those days. There were no bookstores or any businesses in Tokyo in which he could purchase a Bible. He looked for weeks to find a copy of the Bible in stores and businesses and was completely surprised when one day he ran into a vender selling Bibles on a Tokyo city street who encouraged passerby’s by saying, “Please listen. People cannot live by bread alone. Please buy the Bible which provides us with spiritual nourishment.” Mitysuo Fuchida readily purchased a modern translation of the Bible.

Although, he was busy day and night preparing for the occupation forces gatherings, he reached from his bed in the evenings for the Bible and read. He read a preface written by the Japanese Bible Society, ‘They say that the Bible is the best selling book in the world and that it has been translated into every language by human beings. If the penalty of an exile still existed, and you were allowed to bring only one book, people of the world would choose the Bible. My fellow Japanese, if any of you have never read the Bible, open your mind and read only the first 30 pages. You will certainly find something that will move your heart.” This was indeed the voice of God speaking to him. He therefore began to read five chapters every night while attending during the day time to the demands of preparing for and participating in the occupational forces gatherings.

After a month of reading the Bible, he came to Luke 23, the scene where Jesus was crucified on a cross. Although Mitsuo Fuchida was not a Christian, he at least already knew that Christ was crucified. He said to himself, I opened my eyes and read most attentively, “The other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left” (Luke 23:34).

He had heard that Jesus was crucified, but did not know that the Romans had put up three crosses. Trying to imagine the scene on the Hill of the Skull, he moved on to the next passage, “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Then, all of a sudden, he nodded. he understood. What was it? He wrote, “I understood the meaning of the last prayer of the missionary couple. Their 20 year old daughter who cared for the Japanese soldiers realized that if she were placed in her missionary parents situation she would have said what Jesus said from the cross. Her parents must have prayed, My Father in heaven, now Japanese soldiers are raising their swords and will kill me and my wife, but forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” Jesus’s prayer struck her heart and mine, too! I was deeply moved and felt tears coming down my checks.

Mitsuo Fuchida needed to think how her parents execution would have been regarded in Japan. It would be like a kabuki play: our spirits will stay in this world until we are fully avenged. Then, the murdered couple’s children stay in this world until they are fully avenged. Then the murdered couple’s children would seek vengeance by killing their parents killers, and once this was accomplished, they would be admired as dutiful children.

Still he did not think that Jesus’ prayer had anything to do with him. He thought personally of himself, I simply thought it had to do with the Jews and the Roman Soldiers who were facing him. I felt this prayer was saying, “My Father in heaven, now they are trying to crucify and kill me, but please forgive them. They know not what they do.”

From this point on, since this book is translated into the writers English by copying and printing Mitsuo Fuchida’s personal words in reference to his own learnings and astounding conversion to Christianity and Jesus is so profound, that I have followed suite by copying and printing his own thoughts and words in the first person, just as they did.

It was then, suddenly, that a flash of revelation came to me, Fuchita wrote. I was awe struck. The revelation was that, “When Jesus said to ‘them’ you are included as one of them.” Then the next prayer, “They know not what they are doing,” pierced my heart. Now I saw that I had spent 47 long years without knowing what I was doing, and I was quite disgusted with my stupidity.

In the past years, I was a soldier, and I believed that the most important duty I had was my behavior on the battlefield. War is not a crime. If you kill a person voluntarily, that is murder, and you cannot escape capital punishment. However, on the battlefield during war, the more you kill, the more decorations you will receive. Because killing contributes to widening the path to victory in battle, human beings have done this repeatedly since ancient times. I myself was promised the Order of the Golden Kite 2nd Class for killing as many as 3,000 people at Pearl Harbor.

However, I felt an ache in my heart as I thought about the grieving families of those who died. As a member of the military, I was convinced that war itself was one of the ways to attain peace in the name of justice, so I continued to fight and risk my life as a soldier. I believed that it was just because it reflected the loyalty of a soldier to his mother country, but now I know that injustice is not something that can be defined by human beings at their discretion. It can be measured only on the scales of Jesus Christ.

I did not know anything about God. Existence without knowing God is immoral, and this is considered to be sinful. Biblically, it is called “original sin.” In English they put the definite article in front of the word — the sin. They do not refer to this or that sin but refer instead to that particular, original sin. Every other sin derived from that original sin, and collectively, all other sins are referred to simply as various sins.

I admit that I have been a sinner, turning my back on God for 47 years. people do not usually like to be called a sinner. In particular, people who believe according to high moral standards dislike this expression even more. However, without consciousness of sin, faith in the God of Jesus Christ cannot and will not be born. The reason Jesus Christ prayed for intercession while he was on the cross and shedding blood, “Father forgive them,” was to atone for our sins. This is the redemption and forgiveness of the cross.

I became conscious of my sin, having spent 47 years without knowing what I was doing. Then I knew clearly that Jesus Christ died for my sin. It was not something that I learned from others, but I was convinced by the direct revelation from Jesus, and I turned toward God.

I immediately wrote in a space of DeShaZer’s I Was Prisoner In A Japanese War Camp memoirs of his own conversion, “Now I receive the only son of God, Jesus Christ, as my Savior. Date of this conversion is February 26, 1950.

This day was my second birthday. When I attained this second birthday, I was already 47 years old. It would have been better to receive my second birthday earlier, but it is never too late. We all have two birthdays: the first born out of flesh, and the second out of spirit.

Since there was no church near Mitsuo Fuchida’s house, he attended a Saikai Prayer Convention held in a theater in front of Sakai City Hall in which there were delegates from seven nations — Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the US, Germany, Norway and Sweden participating. It was hosted by the Sakai Oshoji Church and I was invited by a Pastor friend named Saito to give testimony of my conversion at the convention. Next, I made a confession in my application for baptism in the ‘church. I was baptized on Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951 in a Presbyterian Church. My friend Saito preached the Sermon titled, “Jesus, Who Was Resurrected From Death.” It was not long before my joyful, new Christian spirit and attitude was recognized and I began with a Christian friend to help gatherings of school and college students who wanted to learn more about Christianity and Jesus. The attached picture of me objectively conveys my joy, wonder, openness and pleasure in following the God of Jesus.

Eventually, a dear friend named Sachs and I were co-flying a small plane in the Untied States to minister to groups of high school and college students interested in learning ways to develop the Christian faith of people in other countries. Having heard about a Billy Graham Crusade being conducted in Albuquerque, the capital city of New Mexico we landed the plane to attend the crusade where Cliff Barrows was conducting a 600 member choir and George Beverly Shea, a well known baritone performed a solo. Upon entering the crusade of over 6,000 attendees we were surprised to be escorted, introduced and seated next to Mrs Graham. Before her husband Billy Graham began to speak, I was introduced by Cliff Borrows who handed me the baton and said, “Captain Fuchida stand and give your testimony.”

I stood on the stage and delivered my testimony that lasted about 15 minutes, pronouncing each word slowly and clearly. There was dead silence as everyone inside the tent tried to catch my every word. I did my best as a speaker, and the audience listened most attentively. Then something very inspirational happened. It was the grace of the Holy Spirit. I finished my speech and was greeted by thunderous applause as Billy Graham rose from his seat to receive me. As I was descending the stage, he gripped my hand and, holding my shoulder, had me sit on the platform as the thunder of the applause continued to rise and the audience began to sing a hymn.

After leaving the Billy Graham Crusade in the capital city of New Mexico a dear friend named Sachs and I flew to Brenmerton Naval Port across from the city of Seattle in the state of WA to attend a Christian Youth Assembly with over 300 attendees. On the way, we stopped to pick up a letter transferred by Billy Graham Associates to me with no sender’s name nor return address. In the letter were these words. “The other day, December 7th was the 11th Pearl Harbor Day. I saw you on the Billy Graham TV program, and spat on your face on the TV. You old rat, go home quick! This is no country for a guy like you to come to. You say you have become a Christian. Why didn’t you become Christian before you bombed Pearl Harbor? From a mother who lost a child on that day.”

The translators of Mitsuo’s own Japanese words from his 20 boxes of notes into English about a mother who lost her beloved son in the Pearl Harbor bombing, still hated him. Calling him an old rat. She had every reason to hate him. It is human nature. But he wrote that he prayed, My Lord, please give your forgiveness and consolation where hatred exists, and give birth to your love. Please eliminate resentment and the hatred of hostility by your cross. Please pity your servants, and favor bereaved families of Pearl Harbor with your grace. Please offer your salvation to them, making two things as one. Amen. People’s prayers are heard. My prayer was heard as early as that night. It happened in this way.”

Sachs and I crossed the straight from the city of Seattle WA to Bremerton Naval Port by a ferry. Since it was a Naval Port, the city was full of navy colors. The Youth for Christ Assembly was held in the petty officers mess where the attendance numbered over 300. The assembly was managed and I was seated on the stage. After I finished my speech, a middle aged woman advanced to the stage, leading her son, about 12 years old. She was holding his hand and she greeted me, “Captain, this is my son. Will you please put your hand on his head and pray for my son?” Then she turned to the presenter to ask if she could talk to the audience and explain the reason why she wanted me to pray for her son. The presenter nodded his consent, and the woman spoke.

“The day that this captain bombed Pearl Harbor was my expected delivery date. I was checked in at the hospital in Honolulu. My husband was a navy Lientenant and the Chief Gunnery Officer of the USS Arizona. The mention of the USS Arizona took Mitsuo’s breath away. The woman continued. The previous day was Saturday, and my husband came to see me in the hospital. However, he returned to the ship for that night, telling me that he would come back again the next morning. The next day, Sunday, the 7th day of September a few minutes past 8:00 in the morning, the glass in the windows in my hospital room trembled with the big shock, and that was the moment this boy was born. Later, I learned that it was the explosion from the USS Arizona from that moment, my husband was gone forever.” It touched Mitsuo’s heart deeply. Just as the boy was born, his father disappeared. “This memory was hard for him. I hated the Japanese air force that bombed the USS Arizona. However my husband was also a Christian. While hearing the testimony of Captain Fuchida, who was the commander of the attachment, he could not stop shivering because of this miraculous deed of God. His child does not know his father. Later when he was old enough to understand, he learned how his father died, he refused to believe the in the Savior of Jesus Christ however much his mother tried to lead him. He has become abstinent because of that fact. Captain, please put your hand on his head, and pray so that his soul will be saved.” Everyone in the audience fell in breathless silence. Mitsuo looked back at the audience, urging them to join him in prayer, and passionately offered this prayer. “Father, forgive, them for they know not what they do.”

There was a sequel to this story. Roughly 10 years later, during my third trip to the United States, when I was attending assemblies in various towns in the outside of the state of New York. At one particular assembly on a Sunday night, about 20 students from the US Military Academy appeared. All of them looked sturdy with their square hair cuts, wearing uniforms with pepper and soda patterns and velvet bordering. One of them, who appeared to be their leader, approached and talked to me,”Captain, do you remember me?” I was startled and looked at him over and over, but his face was not familiar. I said, I am sorry but I do not remember you. Who are you? Then he answered. That is quite understandable because that was 10 years ago. I am the boy for whom you prayed at the Bremerton Naval Park. I was surprised again. I looked at him once more as he had grown up so much. It turned out that after the Pearl Harbor incident President Roosevelt heard the story of this boys birth and he promised that if the boy wanted to attend the Military Academy or the Naval Academy in the future, the President would sponsor his admission. The boy choose the Military Academy at West Point, his birthright based on the President’s guarantee.

Since that day when this boy’s mother asked me to pray for him, he had been supported by prayer and has grown up as a good Christian. After entering the Military Academy, he organized a choir and conducted the choir himself. Hearing that their was going to be an assembly hosting Captain Fuchida in a nearby city, he came to help, and he led the choir. It was a fantastic chorus with a rich, natural voice and people adored the glory of Jesus Christ.

I welcome the new year in 1953 at the head quarters of the Sky Pilots in San Jose California. Since my friend Sachs wanted to establish a Sky Pilots branch in Kansas City we flew and spent three days there. We spent the Sunday morning there attending the Central Bible Church and in the afternoon hearing talks at the Japanese Mission. As the name implies, this Japanese Mission sent missionaries to Japan including many single ladies. While there, Sachs and I stayed in the home of a Sky Pilots supporter who had a sister, who was home on leave from her mission in Japan. She told us that she had a friend who was a sister of former President Harry Truman and Sachs wanted to meet and tell him about Sky Pilots. So Sachs found out that Former President Truman was retired and lived only about 20 miles from Kansas City and through the friendship of the lady friends of former President Truman got go an appointment with him. Our visit went on like this.

Sachs and I were taken by the missionaries to visit President Truman in his home who although retired was very busy with many visitors as he was a major figure in the Democratic Party. Agents from the Secret Service for the ex-president kept a careful watch of his visitors. He appeared very healthy. First, Sachs was introduced, and he started sharing his lengthy introduction of the Sky Pilots. I was worried because we were limited to a 15 minute interview. Truman was listening and nodding, but he seemed to have more interest in me. Tea was served by the missionaries, and the atmosphere was more amiable. Truman then talked to me. “You see, Captain, I was a major in the Army. Since you were a Captain of the Navy let us talk as soldiers today.” With that he signaled Sachs to put aside his story of Jesus Christ for a while. Then he mentioned Pearl Harbor and we talked about various incidents from those days, and President Truman laughingly said, “Captain, as far as Pearl Harbor is concerned, we are both guilty.” Just as I was beginning to say, “We may both be guilty before God through……”. Truman interrupted saying, “No not only before God but before human beings, we will both be guilty as a fact of history.” When I then touched on the issue of the release of prisoners of war, telling him that I brought with me a list of the written petitions, he assured me, “Captain, don’t worry. The issue of prisoners of war will be taken care of shortly.” The atmosphere was cordial. Then we flew to the eastward portion of the United States so Sachs and I could promote Sky Pilots gatherings first in Florida and then we flew northward to Washington DC to celebrate the Birthday of Washington on the 22nd of February.

According to the newspapers President Eienhower was a Christian and he visited a church in Virginia that had a connection with George Washington when he was President. Eisenhower, America’s 34th President , had had his inauguration ceremony just one month earlier on January 20th. Mitsuo had watched that ceremony on TV which was conducted solely and splendidly on the Capital’s East Portico, witnessed by almost a half million people gathered in the square. President Einsenhower took the oath of office, raising his right hand with his left hand on the Bible used by President Washington for his owninauguration ceremony oath. Mitsuo was deeply moved by watching this on TV. It was certainly a ceremony that demonstrated reverence for God.

I was further deeply surprised by a newspaper report that Eisenhower was baptized in a Presbyterian Church in Washington DC after he took the oath of office. The article said that this was simply because he may not have received baptism earlier in his life, but I wondered if he had not been a Christian before his baptism, but Eisenhower said that, “To date I place my faith in God.” I heard that Eisenhower always kept his bible, with a red leather cover, by his side. Judging from the religious tone of his political speeches, there was no doubt that he regularly read his Bible At the time of the presidential election, when his supporters advised him to reduce his use of quotations from the Bible because his campaign speeches sounded too much like missionary assemblies, he got angry, saying, “Don’t underestimate the American people.” What he expected out of the American people was a revival of faith that required religious and spiritual values. The founding fathers of America rallied their belief in the God of Jesus Christ in order to give significance to their revolutionary undertakings. They inscribed this faith in the founding documents of their nation—-“In God We Trust”—- and bravely set the basic tone of their system of government. Thus, where they reviewed God, there was liberty. I was convinced that Eisenhower, who shared such a faith, visibly proved his religious faith in the American people by receiving his baptism.

Before coming to Washington DC, Sachs made a request to the President for an interview but gave no specific reason to see him. Sach’s intention was to take advantage of a meeting as a photo opportunity of me shaking hands with Eisenhower for publicity for the Sky Pilots. While we were staying at the Fairfax Hotel in Washington, there was a call from the White House secretary which I answered. The secretary asked, “Captain Fuchida, what is the reason you want to see the President?” It was a natural question, but I was puzzled. If Sachs had been there , he would have managed an appropriate response. I did not have the time to think of an answer, so I told the secretary of Sach’s true intention, “We have no particular reason. We just want to take a photo shaking hands with the President.” As I explained this was a ridiculous request, the secretary laughed and said, “Captain, as a matter of fact, people with similar requests visit the White House every day, and the President will be happy to satisfy needs by coming out to the veranda when he has time. The gate of the White House is open from 9:00 AM in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon and you will be given the opportunity if you wait on the veranda.”

After saying, “Thank you.” I hung up the telephone and thought why should I waste my time to wait around for the President to appear. I did not care about the photo, and I did not say anything about this conversation to Sachs. On the next day, there was another call from the secretary. Again, Sachs was not around and the Secretary asked me, “Captain, do you play golf?” I bluntly responded that I could not. “Then it doesn’t matter. To tell you the truth, the President will be playing golf and he wanted to invite you to play with him.” That night there was a long envelope delivered from the President to me at the Fairfax Hotel. Inside the envelope was an artist sketch of Eisenhower swinging his golf club. On the sketch in the upper right corner was printed, To Captain Fuchida and under it was the President’s signature. I was deeply moved and felt the greatness of his personality for having thought of me by having an artist sketch of him golfing delivered to me.

Then there was another call from The White House secretary. This time Sachs answered and the secretary asked him, had Captain Fuchida received a charcoal sketch of the President golfing.” Then the secretary added that the President was going to attend the worship service at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington that morning and wondered if we would like to attend with him? As we were available, Sachs answered affirmatively immediately without even asking me.

At the scheduled time for the service to begin, Sachs and I arrived at the church as the organ began to play with over 500 attendees who rose from their seats when the President arrived escorted by his guards and winked for me to be seated with him. Since the First Lady was unable to accompany him that day, I sat with him in the middle of the auditorium. We sang a song with the congregation which was my favorite, Blessed Assurance. With President at my side we sang with Loud voices. He had commanded all the military forces of the world, so his voice was powerful. After the sermon and prayer it was time for announcements in which the Minister announced me as the former commander of the Pearl Harbor attack, but now a member of the family of God. This was greeted by thunderous applause including the President next to me. Then the Minister announced that the Captain would give a testimony at a missionary assembly that evening and everyone was invited to attend. This too received a big applause.

After a prayer session of approximately 30 minutes, the minister closed with a benediction and the chorus of amens by the choir and the ringing of the chimes. The President shook hands with me before he left. The entire audience was standing as they saw him off. After all of this, Sachs failed to take a picture, but I admired the warm hearted Eisenhower. I thought, what a man of God he is.

Since Mitsuo Futucia and Sachs were within driving distance of The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Mitsuo decided to visit the Academy so he could see if there was a difference in the training of the naval students in America and his training as a naval student in Japan. One of the things he noticed when he was walking around the Naval Academy with Lieutenant John Cravens of the Academy on a Sunday morning was a large attendance of naval students in the beautiful chapel. When they entered the worship service and The Chaplain noticed Lieutenant Cravens was escorting Mitsuo Fituchia, he asked Lieutenant Cravens to introduce him as a guest which he did during the announcements in the Worship Service noting that he was currently a Christian and all the students stood and clapped their hands in welcoming him.

Mitsuo was told by many of the students after the Chapel Service on Sunday morning that many of the students then also attended churches of their own Christian denomination in the City of Annapolis. Mitsuo was impressed that the students place such an emphasis on the God of Jesus which did not happen to him when he was a naval student in Japan. In fact he had never heard of Christianity and Jesus when he was growing up. He was so impressed with the naval students religious and military training at Annapolis, he told told the Chaplain and many of the naval students who crowed around him after the worship service that this was the way they were helping Japan to clim from the ashes of bombing and building helpful understanding and relationships between Japan and America by displaying an awe of God and belief in Jesus at the Naval Academy of Annapolis. He said that one of the most outstanding things he had witnessed was the students and their leaders praising the God of Jesus in the Naval Chapel of Annapolis.

Back in Washington Mitsuo and Sachs departed to visit Baltimore, Philadelphia and conclude in New York before heading back west to San Jose where they began this their third tour of America to promote Sky Piloting. Their last stop to visit leaders and students was in Baltimore, Philadelphia and then in New York city in which Mitsuo had an appointment to see Jimmy Doolittle, who was living on the 20th floor of a skyscraper building. Doolittle was then Shell Oil’s General Manager of Public Relations. Captain Fuchida of Pearl Harbor, responsible for the first air raid on the United States and General Doolittle, leader of the bomber squadron which made the first air raid on Japan, were having an interview. The reader can probably make a good story out of this meeting.

General Doolittle determined the time and place of the interview. The mass media flocked to Doolittle’s office, which was crowed and cluttered with people and TV cameras. This was their first encounter with one another. They enjoyed talking on a number of different topics. In conclusion Doolittle invited Fuchica to attend a commemorative reunion which was held on April the 18th every year. Doolittle was also a Christian who revered God.

That night before he and Sachs left on the following morning to return to San Jose from which they started this tour of America they visited General McAuthor who in the latter part of his stay in Japan helping with the reconciliation of Japan and America, had collected memoirs to illustrate his writing. Since Mitsuo had already met and talked with him several times before when McArthur was in Japan, they agreed to keep talking and writing to one another. Before Mitsuo Fuchita left, General Mc Arthur gave him a Church bell taken by an American GI who had brought it to America and prompted by Mc Arthur’s wife asked him to return it to the little outlying Christian Church in Japan which Mitsuo Fuchida agreed to do.

After Sachs and Mitsuo Fuchita flew back to San Jose from which they had started this tour for Sky Pilots, they flew back to their Japanese homes. They had driven over 40,000 miles on this one of three trips they took to evangelize students and officials in America. This time when Mitsuo Fuchida returned to Japan, he took a bell which an American soldier had swiped from a little Christian Church in a rural back area of Japan. Mitsuo Fuchicda did find the little church from which the bell had been taken and return it. He found ecstatically happy little children and their adult helpers who gladly re hung it high up in the steeple of the little church. When Mitsuo returned back to his own home, he received a letter from the children of the church and their leaders thanking him for returning the bell.

This classic illustration of Mitsuo’s generous and persistent perseverance in carying out his practice of helping others to be Christian is included in the conclusion of the book, FORTHATONEDAY to help the reader understand, appreciate and respect the value and wonder of the tireless and unpretentious endeavors of Mitsuo Fuchida to help others. Some of his endeavors like this one are included in the last one sixth and most important part of this book. His conversion and what he did after his own conversion to implement, build and expand vital friendships and relationships among people in churches, other Christian groups and organizations to extend and support Christianity and Jesus, can not be overstated. As it is especially pertinent and outstanding in American and Japanese history.

Mitsuo Fuchida’s wife, Haruko Fuchida was so impressed by her husband’s accomplishments, that she included her thoughts about his thoughts, feelings and actions in the last portion of the last chapter of this book which she titled a Postscript. She also includes references to their son and their daughter who came back to Japan from America to help her care for him in the last days of his life. I hope and pray that you have been inspired in reading my blog about Mitsuo Fuchida to purchase and read for yourself THATFORONEDAY.

responded

When A Family Member Is Imprisoned

When Muff and Don lived in Dover Delaware, they received a phone call from their youngest daughter, Suzanne who lived in a remote area outside of New Tripoli Pennsylvania. She said that she and her husband Michael were frightened when vehicles with red and blue flashing lights came in the middle of the night roaring down the rocky unpaved road leading to their home and turned into their yard. When the doors of the vehicles opened, guns were pointed toward their home and some of the gunmen jumped out and ran around back of their house, evidently, to catch any persons whom they thought might be trying to escape by a rear door or window of their house. Then a demanding voice over a loud speaker ordered them to come out with their hands held high in the air. Suzanne said that since she was seven months pregnant, Michael cautioned her to stay inside until he got their dogs calmed down and tied up to keep them from being shot by the pugnacious police officals.

After Michael got the dogs calmed down and under control, he told me that I could come out with him. Then we heard a demanding voice exclaim over the loud speaker, “Michael Powers, you are charged with abetting criminals for cooking amphetamines on this property. Therefore, you are being taken to the Lehigh Federal Prison.” Without any further explanation, they handcuffed and took Michael away, leaving me to fend for myself. It wasn’t until the next morning, when I visited Michael in the Lehigh Federal Prison, that I learned the law enforcement officers were from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as the State and County police. I also learned that Michael’s bail was set so high that she could not raise enough money to get him released.

Muff and Don told her, they were shocked to learn about her horrifying experience and were glad that she was alright. They asked if she had known before this happened, that illegal cooking of amphetamines had taken place on the property. She replied that Michael had told her when they were dating and before they were married that remote friends had cooked amphetamines on this property but neither of them had taken any of the drugs or had anything to do with their production. Muff and Don assured Suzanne that they were glad that she was innocent and alive and they would do everything they could to help her and Michael get through this terrible experience. 

After spending eight weeks in the Lehigh Federal Penitentiary, a friend of Michael’s put his restaurant up for bail, in order to get the money necessary for Michael to be released from jail to be present for the delivery of Suzanne’s first baby. Her husband Michael and her mother Muff Hurst were both present for the delivery of their baby. Suzanne and Michael named their baby Kristine. 

It was only three weeks later when a Federal Court hearing was held for Michael in Phildelphia in which the prosecuting attorney made an example of him for having abetted criminals by allowing them to cook amphetamines on this remote rural property. He was  sentenced to ten years at Fort Dix, a male Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey. The prosecuting attorney made an example of him, so that other remote Pennsylvania property owners would not allow culprits to cook amphetamines on their remote premises.  

Don doubted that visiting Michael in prison where there was an eighty-five percentage rate of recidivism, would help him, but after he had read in the Bible that Jesus was quoted as saying, “I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me (Matthew 25:36),” he decided to make quarterly visits to Michael each year while he was in prison. Muff decided to go with him, because she wanted Michael to know that she had faith in him. 

After a year of Michael’s imprisonment, Suzanne called and told her parents that having been separated by imprisonment, she and he had decided that their marriage was a mismatch and they were going to divorce. She added that she had stopped attending college in order to care for Kristine and spend time trying to earn a living for her family by operating her home interior decorating business. However, she wanted Kristine to see her father and get to know him while he was in prison. Her parents were pleased to accept her request to take Kristine with them when they went to see her father. As it turned out, Kristine’s visits were superbly helpful in developing her and and her father’s relationship and helping him to endure the endless long days of his life in prison. 

Consequently, their visits to Michael in prison continued without deviations especially after Suzanne and Kristine came to live with Muff and Don when he began pastoring a church, not in Delaware. This gave Muff a chance to help Suzanne care for Kristine while Suzanne continued to operate her home interior decorating business and earn her college degree at a nearby community college. 

Muff really enjoyed transporting Kristine to her school, especially when they drove past an old crumbling rock wall. When driving past the rock wall, they always played a song on the car radio which depicted the Walls of Jericho came tumbling down. They were really pleased to learn in a letter, from Kristine’s father that after seven years of his imprisonment, the Federal Judge announced a court hearing of his case. ”Maybe,” her grandmother said, “the walls of your father’s prison, like the walls of Jericho, are also going to come tumbling down.”

At Michael’s Federal Court hearing, the original prosecuting attorney reiterated the same repertoire which she had used to get him sentenced to ten years in prison. When the prosecuting attorney sat down, Don quietly stood up and asked the judge if he might speak. The judge gave him permission and he began.

“My wife and I have taken our granddaughter Kristine to see her father, Michael Powers, a prisoner in the Fort Dix New Jersey Federal Penitentiary, every four months for the past seven years. With the ongoing 85% rate of prison recidivism, I confess that I did not think that his being in prison would help him. But I was wrong, because while in prison, he has accomplished three nearly impossible endeavors indicating that he is a different man.

First of all, he made up his mind that he was not going to act vengeful as a result of imprisonment. He was sorry for what he had done, the embarrassment he caused his family and friends and was going to move onward and forward to do everything he could to improve his life. Secondly, when an opportunity occurred at the Federal Penitentiary, where he was a prisoner, he got the job of laying bricks for a new prison addition. With his paltry earnings of ten cents an hour, he purchased chewing gum and hard candy which he gave to his little daughter, when we took her to see him in prison. Thirdly, while he has been in prison, he has learned to read and write. He has sent letters to us and we have sent letters back to him. You might wonder why he had not acquired the ability to read and write before he was imprisoned, especially since his mother was a public school teacher and his father was a successful business man, but for some reason he had not acquired this ability.  In fact, I personally know other men, who without being able to read or write have become outstanding business men, but Michael Powers is one of the few who has learned to read and write while in prison. 

Therefore, he is ready to be released from prison to make a good living laying brick, in order to provide financially for his former wife to care for their daughter Kristine. The brick layers union to which he belongs has kept his dues paid up to date while he is in prison, so he can return home and start laying bricks again. He has paid the price for having allowed culprits cook amphetamines on the remote property on which he lived. He has learned to never do that again. He has repeatedly told me that he is sorry for the pain, shame, inconvenience and embarrassment he has caused his daughter, her mother and her family and will not do anything to hurt or harm them again. He has already done and I believe will continue to do even more significant things to help his family when he gets out of prison. I therefore sincerely hope that he will be released to go home to provide financial support to his former wife to continue to love and support their darling daughter.”  Don quietly sat down. The court stenographer had become so engrossed in his presentation that she stopped taking notes and listened. The judge remained quiet for a long time. Finally, he looked up and said there will be another hearing and banged his gavel on the desk. Don thought he knew what this meant. Michael was going to be released from prison.

One month later at Michael’s hearing, he was released from prison. This time his older sister from Harrisburg was on hand to escort him home. After renewing friendships, he went back to work laying bricks and sending money to his former wife to care for their daughter, Kristine. Incidentally, he has continued to do this as Kristine has progressed through public school, college, undergraduate, and currently earning her doctorate. Although, Kristine’s mother married another man who became Kristine’s step father, this did not deter her biological father’s financial and emotional support.

In fact, her biological father developed a new loving relationship with another woman who already had a son, who became Kristine’s step brother. They also had a daughter who became Kristine’s half sister.  Kristine’s biological father and her mother’s current husband have both become close to one another in caring for Kristine. When she graduated from college, both of them were sitting side by side in the audience. When she walked onto the platform to receive her college degree, they both stood up together and clapped their hands with tears of joy, pride, praise and gratitude running down their faces. Kristine’s mother, step mother, grandmother, grandfather and her boyfriend all witnessed their touching and supportive care.

By simply being her own God-given true self, Kristine helped her father, her mother, her step father, her family, friends and many others live through her father’s difficult and challenging prison time in which he adjusted back into a very productive, rewarding, wonderful and meaningful life. 

Her father affectionately says when asked about his imprisonment, “Kristine made the difference. She saved my life.” 

Kristine responds, “God made the difference by working with my father and our family. I hope and pray that whenever a family member is imprisoned, that he or she will be able to wholeheartedly engage in positive, honorable and courageous endeavors, like my father and our family and friends did to facilitate his and our families life enhancing togetherness during and after his imprisonment.”

Kristine Powers, with her father’s support, is currently earning her Doctor’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology at The Claremont University in California.

Her Mother Was The Problem

One day when she had stayed home to do some housework, she noticed Dr Joe Carr, who came to their parsonage to counsel Don, regarding his pastoral leadership at the Leeds Church. He came into the house dressed in the uniform of a National Basketball professional team.  Muff, asked Dr Car, why he came to the homes of his clients and did not have them come to his office and why he wore the basketball uniform. He told her that he came to his clients homes because he could learn more about them in their homes than when they came to his office and he wore the basketball uniform because he was employed as the coach counselor for an outstandingly talented national professional basketball team, which could not win without learning to relate to one another. Since Counseling was his profession, he wore the basketball uniform in order for clients to learn the importance of relationships. He also said that he liked to come to their parsonage because his mother was a pastor and he had lived in a parsonage. Joe also attended the Leeds Pastor Staff Parish Relations Committee with Don at the church and complimented Don and the committee’s productive conversation regarding their relationship with one another and the church. He called them a winning team.

That evening after Joe had gone home, and Muff and Don were talking, Muff wondered if Joe would talk with her about something that was bothering her. She knew that she was loved by her father, her grandmother and her grandfather and many friends, like she was loved by many current friends, but something was wrong with her and she didn’t know what it was. When Don asked her why she wanted to talk with Joe, she told him, “I am sure that he makes lots of money as a leading NBA basketball coach counselor and his wife is the warden of a Delaware woman’s detention center, so he has more than enough money to purchase a modern automobile, yet he drives a beat up old European car like detective Columbo’s. He impresses me because his clients are more important to him than his possessions. Consequently, she said that she trusts Joe and would like him to help her with a problem.”

The next time Joe came to the house, Don went outside and worked in the yard so Muff and Joe could talk privately. After Joe left, Don came back in, and Muff told him what she and Joe had talked about. “I told him that something was bothering me, but I didn’t know what it was. He asked me if I thought it was something that had happened to me recently or a long time ago, and I told him that I didn’t think it was recently, and it might’ve been a longtime ago. We talked about different things, but we didn’t strike any pay dirt.  Eventually, Joe asked me if I had any childhood photographs? I told him that since my father was a prolific photographer, I had boxes of them. He suggested that I get them out, sit down, look at them to see what happens to me. So after he left and before you came back inside I got them out, sat down and began to study them and I need to tell you what I discovered.” Don sat down next to her, remained quiet and listened as Muff explained.

“I noticed bright cheerful pictures of me smiling and happy as a little girl until I became six years of age and the pictures then showed me unhappy and frowning until I was seven. I remembered when I was six I became aware that my mother would not allow me to have my own mind about what to do or not to do. She told me how to dress and what to say or not say. Once when she was expressing her opinion about something and I chimed in with my own opinion. She slapped me so hard that my teeth rattled. Understandably, after that, when I was between six and seven years of age, I buried my own God given ability to think for myself deep down inside when I was around her. I have never mentioned the hurt and shame I felt by not having been able to speak for myself when around her, not even to you, except for one girlfriend who was my high school girlfriend. I told her at our twenty-fifth high school class reunion. Neither of us were able in our school days to talk about our mothers, and just now being able to talk with one another about my pain and shame of being unreasonably and dictatorially controlled by my mother is freeing. That is what made me so hurt and sad in my photos when I was between six and seven year old. Of course when I was seven the pictures of me indicated that I was happy again because I decided with my father and grandparent’s help and support to be myself regardless of my mother.”  Don and Muff put their arms around one another as they joyfully and gratefully hugged and kissed. As she remembered, the pent up tears of hurt and grief from long ago were released and rolled down her cheeks. 

Next week when Joe came, Muff showed him the photographs and shared with him what she had hidden deep down inside of herself. He asked her to tell her story to him as he quietly and attentively listened and then after she stopped he repeated everything back to her and told her how pleased he was that she trusted him and shared this information with him. He then asked her if he had heard her correctly and was there anything else that she wanted to share. When she was satisfied that Joe had understood, accepted, appreciated, supported and respected what she had told him, he suggested that she confidentially tell others whom she trusted besides Don whom she told Joe that she had already told. “Otherwise’, he explained, ‘your grief will continue to pop-up anytime, any place and sometimes in embarrassing and inappropriate situations. So keep telling those whom you trust”. 

Joe also noted, “It was interesting that when you were a child you not only realized that you did not want to be dictatorially controlled by you mother, but you were obviously understood, accepted, appreciated and supported by your Father, Grandparents and younger Sister, who encouraged you to be your own charming God given true self. And not only that, but what I have learned from your parishioners that you are a fabulous mother, of your own children and have helped them and your neighbors and parishioners to be their own God given true selves, too!” He further affirmed Muff by saying, “Being a pastor’s spouse is probably the most difficult job in the church. Anyway, now that you have uncovered your vulnerability, you can continue to let your own God given true self, shine like a bright star in a night sky and Continue to be your own God given true self. You’re a fabulous person.” 

Then before leaving Joe asked this one last question. “Have you had a chance to think about the reason your mother tried to dictatorially control you?” Muff answered, “Yes, I’ve had a chance to think about this and I think that my mother’s parents spoiled her by allowing her get her own way in everything while she was growing up because of their fear of losing her like they had lost her older brother, who died as a little baby, two years before she was born. Consequently, she grew up to be a spoiled brat, getting whatever, whenever she wanted it by bossing me around. She was like a two year old that never grew out of everything in the world revolving around herself.  I don’t think she was intentionally or diabolically mean or a cruel. She just did the best she could as a mother raising me her first child. It was not easy for her and in those days, mothers and their children did not talk about their relationships openly even after the children were grown adults. I have forgiven her for what she was trying to do to me and why. I know that under the circumstances she did the best she could. Maybe it will be different in the world to come. When we meet, I’ll hug her, we might even laugh and shed some tears of remorse and enjoy genuine forgiveness together.”

Joe felt that his work with Muff was completed, but before leaving, he thanked and complimented both Muff and Don for being their own God given true selves and sharing their lives with him as well as with many other trusted friends. After a group hug, he was on his way.

Muff’s Recent picture

King Ranch Helps Provide Milk For The World

Viewing hills and valleys through which the Buck and Doe streams flow mesmerized the 44 Jenner’s Pond residents on a comfortable tour bus as they rode through the outstanding natural beauty of the King Ranch. A historian and her two cowboy friends whom they picked up to ride on the bus and guide them, intrigued and heightened their imagination as they rode along together. She explained how the King Ranch operation had been superbly organized by outstanding wealthy businessmen and their managers who employed  cowboys to herd cattle which were brought from drought ridden Texas pastures by train to Pennsylvania’s mid Chester County luscious green pastures to be fattened and sent to slaughter houses to feed residents of large east coast cities. The cowboys, their families and managers lived in yellow houses with green shutters provided by the King Ranch businessmen who occasionally came and rode horses with the cowboys to learn what could be done to improve the operation. 

As one of the Jenner’s Pond bus riders, I enjoyed learning about the businessmen who enabled the cattle business to flourish and the hilarious stories of the Pennsylvania cowboys. I also appreciated the manner in which the King Ranch cattle business was closed down with happy memories for everyone when it was purchased by an industrious land conservation group to preserve the phenomenal memories of the cattle operation and Pennsylvania cowboys. But I would be even happier if there had been mention of the current operation of transporting heifers from the surrounding Chester County and other productive farm areas to King Ranch in modern large two level tractor trailers to be unloaded and individually examined by veterinarians and given inoculations before they are hauled to the Seaport of Wilmington Delaware and placed on ocean going cargo ships to be carried to foreign countries over the world. This means that King Ranch had not only been active in the past but is currently active in a new and significant manner to help people around the world by providing them with pregnant heifers to become milk cows with calves. 

One of the cowboys sitting next to me on our tour bus told me that he had loaded 44 heifers onto a big dairy cow truck in 7 minutes and they had loaded enough heifers to supply 5 individual ocean going cargo ships last year with 2,700 heifers on each ship. Sounded to me like some King Ranch business men and cowboys are now helping to provide milk for the world.

The movie “Hidden Figures”

Tears of joy and wonder ran down viewer’s faces as Katherine Johnson played by Taraji P. Henson and her two women friends employed in 1961 by NASA in Hampton VA, broke barriers for being colored women applying their mathematical calculations to guide John Glenn’s Mercury Friendship 7 aeronautical space capsule four times around planet earth and safely parachuting it back to earth, outlasting Russia’s Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagaran, who circled only once.

Dramatically and engagingly written and portrayed, this non-fiction real life story convincingly portrays the gifted three women who strenuously exerted their intelligence and wholesome family and human relationships under excruciating bias circumstances to make an incredible difference in helping America accomplish it’s first great space endeavor.

Viewing the motion picture film,“Hidden Figures” during this time of American’s political unrest, moved Muff and me as well as many of our friends to do our best to collaborate with friends to encourage US citizens to move upward and forward. Kevin Costner, who played the part of Mr. Harrison, who directed the capsule’s flight plan asked Kathrine Johnson after John Glenn’s space capsule had miraculously landed, “Can we make it to the moon?” She responded by saying these three last words of the film, “We’re already there!” By helping one another maybe even with our biases, “We’re already there,” too!

This film helped Muff and me understand, accept, support and appreciate ourselves, one another, others and especially strangers in spite of, and maybe, even because of ours and others biases. And don’t think that those, who don’t believe they have biases, don’t. We all do. Sometimes our biases are hidden so well that we don’t even know we have them. Katherine Johnson and her two women cohorts inexpressibly and wonderfully inspire US and world viewers of “Hidden Figures” to become brave and effective activists for the betterment of all human kind and the world in which we live today. It’s an astounding film.

Your Kind Words and Thoughts for Debbie Are Appreciated

Debbie Taking A Nap

Debbie can’t talk, but she can sit, walk and with help feed herself. She makes a froggy sound when she is contented and slaps her head when she is discontented. No one knows how she learned to do it, but she began amusing her herself and accomplishing something extraordinary when she became a teenager by bouncing a ball for hours at a time with her middle right hand finger. This is still an exceptional feat for a 54 year old severely mentally challenged girl with an IQ of twenty. When she does this, she is apparently just being herself doing the one God gifted thing she can do. Incidentally, she doesn’t like too many people bothering her, but gladly welcomes some of her 24 X 7 care givers and seems to appreciate their love and attention where she is a resident at the Holly Center in Salisbury, MD.

After helping others with all sorts of problems, I was finally able after the first long seven years of Debbie’s life in which I never went into the house without changing her diapers. To receive help , Muff and I went with vital Marriage Communications friends to a Laboratory in Warwick NY which we were being trained to help other married couples. While there, I to stop denying and deal with my own grief over losing my dreams for our very special mentally challenged daughter, Debbie. 

My wife, our family and I are all so grateful for the 24 X 7 care and love Debbie then began receiving at The Rosewood Center in Owens Mills, MD where we enrolled her and now at The Holly Center, Salisbury, MD where we take turns visiting her to show the medical, psychological, social, educational and everyday care takers that we genuinely appreciate her care and treatment. The President of the United States of America could not be treated any better than where Debbie is treated. 

Hope you don’t mind my writing to tell you all of this, but she is precious to me and the rest of our family. She actually changed my life 47 years ago when I was finally able to share with trusted friends, my grief over Debbie’s inabilities.  I think I still need to occasionally share my story, and consequently my Don’s Bloggers are the “lucky ones” today. 

Incidentally, Debbie recently, had a cataract procedure to help her see better. She has so little in life, we are hoping and praying that this procedure continues to improve her eye sight. With God’s help everyone is doing his and her best to help Debbie and I might add us and especially me. 

So thanks much for your love and your prayers. 

Ethically Challenged?

While changing my clothes at the YMCA to work out early in the morning, I overheard two men in the dressing room discussing the partially blocked parking lot out front. They finally concluded that they had talked with  employees and patrons that morning and no one seemed to know the reason why it was blocked off.

Their discussion apparently triggered the memory of one of the men in the dressing room, who began to tell a story of a friend who had developed a terrible distain for signs, lines or barricades. His reaction was so upsetting to him that he made a decision to not let it bother him. But what his friend really meant when he made that decision not to let it bother him, was to not  pay any attention to his disdains which became very obvious one day when he was riding in his car which he nonchalantly parked in a clearly designated handicapped parking space and energetically jumped out of his car.

A nearby elderly lady saw him do this and shouted at him for being inconsiderate of handicapped drivers, who might need the parking space. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” she cried out! The man who was telling this story said that he shouted back at the elderly lady, “His friend couldn’t help it because he was ethically challenged.” Apologetically, the elderly lady then called back that she did not know, was sorry and hoped that his driving friend would forgive her.

I still think about the men changing clothes with me at the YMCA that morning, who gave me a laughing introduction to the term, “ethically challenged”.  I’ve thought about their joke many times, but never without wondering about the many times every day that I and probably many others have acted “ethically challenged.”

Incidentally, after I worked out, showered, dressed and walked past the portion of the parking lot closed off with wide yellow lines and orange safety cones, I noticed that workers were repairing the blacktop in that portion of the parking lot. I concluded, it was probably a good idea that I had obeyed the rules even though I hadn’t been previously able to  understand them.

Completely Uninformed About Lyme Disease

She and her husband did not know Chester County Pennsylvania is targeted as one of the major deer tick infested areas in the United States. They did not know that deer ticks, the size of a poppy seed, are difficult to see or feel. They did not know that a deer tick bite is not always followed by a skin rash or bulls-eye target. They did not know Lyme disease is hard to diagnose because its symptoms mimic other human ailments and tests are not always conclusive. They did not know that untreated infection caused by a deer tick bite can wreak irreparable havoc on the human body and mind.

For over one month she struggled with devastating ailments and eventually excruciating muscle pain, before she was finally treated for the following symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • She was fatigued
  • She had red eyes – thought it was caused by prescribed eye drops
  • She lost her appetite, lost weight and did not like or want anything to eat
  • She was sleep deprived – napped repeatedly but it did not help
  • She had painful swollen wrists and fingers – could not wear her rings and bracelets – thought it was arthritis
  • She had excruciating pain in the back of her neck muscles and each side of her back muscles which migrated randomly to other muscles – her pain was so severe that she could not move or bear her muscles touched

Normally, a very busy, healthy, appreciated and loved lady, who had been declared cancer free after five years from her breast procedure and treatment. She served many volunteer endeavors as well as looked after herself, her husband, grown children, grand children and many friends, and as a non-complaining retired nurse, kept thinking with medications and rest she’d feel better. When the painful muscles symptom occurred, her husband and a friend had to pick her up and carry her to use the bathroom, and because she was in such agony she could not decide what to do next. They took her to the Emergency Room of the Christiana Care Hospital. She was treated in the Emergency Room for 24 hours and then five more days in a hospital room. Six different doctors individually asked her if she had been in the woods, bitten by a tick or had a telltale rash or bulls-eye on her skin. She answered no. Pain medications which she desperately needed and appreciated were provided,  but they were unable to diagnose or treat her for an infection indicated by her blood tests. She was told what she did not have, but not what she did have while the excruciating muscle pain and other symptoms mercilessly persisted. The doctors and nurses tried to help her, but to no avail.

In desperation, her husband called their daughter, a knowledgeable Registered Nurse with credible hospital, home health care, hospice and medical insurance company experience. When asked what her mother’s symptoms were, he told her, and she said, “Dad, Mom has Lyme disease”. He quickly relayed this information to her hospitalist physician, who ordered a Western Blog for Lyme disease, but which is often the case, her’s did not test positively. Her husband then phoned her primary physician, told him the symptoms, and he agreed to meet her at the skilled nursing unit where they live at Jenner’s Pond PA. Her primary physician came on a Sunday morning, noted that her face showed that she was going through terrible pain, reviewed her symptoms, examined her and prescribed doxycycline, the antibiotic used to treat the infection caused by Lyme disease. Since that day although she has not gotten completely better yet, she continues to improve. Her quick wit and smile, as you can see in the attached picture which was taken before this ordeal, is beginning to return.

She may still have to deal with some long-term effects of the Lyme infection, we’re not sure, but if needed there are other antibiotics which can be used to complement doxycycline. Her primary doctor will be following her progress until she’s safely over Lyme disease. Patients sometimes even have to take low dosages of antibiotics for the rest of their life when the Lyme infection keeps recurring in what appears as a facial stroke or loss of mental abilities. We’re hoping and praying for her complete recovery without any debilitating or lasting effects.

Her Lyme symptoms were made public in this post because, without wearing long lasting protection spray, a deer tick may bite anyone, anytime almost anywhere out-of-doors in Chester County Pennsylvania or in the surrounding geographic areas of Delaware or the Eastern Shore of Maryland. And even though this information is limited to only one deer tick harmed lady and each deer tick bitten person is uniquely affected and will have different symptoms, it may help other unsuspecting deer tick bitten persons to understand the need to be alert, look for Lyme disease symptoms and find a medical doctor, who will knowledgeably, willingly, quickly, and courageously provide a timely Lyme disease treatment.

A Christmas Wonder

Not a car or person stirring in The Y or the huge shopping center parking lots near us on this Christmas morning.  Only three individuals walking their dogs, and no cars moving on the streets running through the Jenner’s Pond Continuing Care Community in which we live. Everything and every household at least on the outside was unbelievably quiet where we live. Stopped my car and started walking to safely contemplate even more quietly alone on the banks of a creek in the woods in back of where we live.

Along the way, I paused to enjoy a look at a picturesque pond where I saw less than twelve feet away from where I was standing, silhouetted by brush on the edge of the pond – the most picture perfect scene of a Gray Heron I had ever been privileged to see, frozen in place to not give itself away. Slowly, but evidently not slow enough, I reached into my pocket to get out my smart phone to take a picture, but it detected my move and quickly flew to the safety of the other side of the pond and slowly landed to stand in the water. The picture in this post is obviously not the one I missed.

Mesmerized, I quietly sat down on a nearby bench and contemplated the wonder of the heron which had statuesquely retained it’s delicate, graceful upright pose. Perhaps it conveyed a message to me to keep the many ungainly parts of my own person in perspective by timely observing all that’s around me and when all else failed, fly safely from who or whatever might hurt or harm me. I thanked the heron for it’s undeniably wonderful sponsor free message by which I had been connected to nature on this Christmas morning. I hoped and prayed that the heron might remain safe and unharmed, so that we humans who are supposedly tending the earth for it and all other creatures, might continue to learn from it and all other forms which watch out for and help us. We’re all connected.

This was a God gift which I received on a wonderful 2015 Christmas morning.  Couldn’t help sharing it.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, this was the first Christmas morning my wife,  Muff and I spent with just the two of us alone together for the 58 years of our marriage. After I observed the Gray Heron, I spent a delightful time with her in our apartment, looking at pictures and  remembering our Christmas mornings together with our parents, children, grandchildren and their significant others. Tomorrow, after many afternoon happy phone calls with our family, we all gather together at one of their homes for our Family Christmas celebration.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

This morning I read for the second time an article clipped from the Wall Street Journal and given to me by a friend, who serves on our Jenner’s Pond library book selection committee. She wrote on a note attached to a book review, “thought of you when I read this.” It was a review titled, Where Earth and Water Parted authored by Gerald Helderich in reference to Aaron Hirsh’s new book, Telling Our Way To The Sea.

Describing Hirsh’s pictorial writing of his personal explorations of the Sea of Cortez and information from John Steinbeck Sea of Cortez adventures, Helderich makes a perfect pitch for persons to read Telling Our Way To The Sea.

I was grateful for my Jenner’s Pond friend cutting out and giving me this book review not only because I have taken people sailing on The Sea of Cortez but also because it reminded me of an important author’s practice of making reference to those who have gone before us in creative ways.

In this review the author makes use of Hirsh’s reference to Steinbeck before him. It helps me as an author to remember and practice this in creative ways not only because Hirsh does this in his book but because memorable practitioners including John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham and Jesus, the Christ, have done so. However, so far as we know, Jesus did not write it down, just filed it in his memory, and pulled it out and used it when ever necessary by mentioning the laws and prophecies before him, whenever and wherever he could use it to help him to give credence and persuasion to his presentation. He noted that he was then not only able to fulfill the law and the prophets but expand and enlarge interest and engage the people with whom he was talking in their own vernacular. Our memorable great presidents did the same thing. John Kennedy reminded the American people to not ask what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country, a saying that originated many years before in ancient Greece.

It’s a practice, my friend reminded me of by reading the article second time which she had given to me with her note. She helped me to practice my own deliveries in talking as a pastor and writing as an author by including the gifts of those who have ventured before me in their exploration, understanding and projection of the subjects I wish to talk and write about. Thanks to my friend, Mary Jane Hofmann.

Another way of looking at this wrinkle which needs to be ironed out whenever talking or writing is what Robert Schuller has said in reference to speaking and writing when he instructed us to give credit to those from whom we have received information or an idea. Claiming credit for something we’ve said or written without giving credit to those from whom we received it, is termed plagiarism. The truth of the matter is that most of us have few if any completely new ideas or understanding. We simply continue to learn from others mistakes and successes as well as our own and we build on them. It behoves us and whatever or whoever we’re talking or writing about to give credit where credit is due.

Frankly, I am humbled to learn that my thoughts and feelings have been thought and felt long before I ever experienced them. Fortunately, I can then enjoy expressing what they said or have written in new significant and hopefully life changing and interesting ways.

Once again thanks for your note, Mary Jane

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