Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Power Of Forgiveness...!

Saying that you forgive someone for a slight against you is one thing, but proving it is another. This story shows just how forgiveness really works.

The (Forgiven) Japanese Pilot Who Bombed Oregon In World War II
By Nolan Moore on Saturday, September 6, 2014

With only a handful of exceptions, few groups have ever attacked the United States on its own soil. In fact, most people probably believe the only aerial assault on the American mainland occurred on September 11, 2001. However, in 1942, the Japanese military ordered a pilot named Nobuo Fujita to bomb the town of Brookings, Oregon. While the mission was a spectacular failure, the bombings sparked a strange story of friendship between the citizens of Brookings and the pilot who tried to destroy their town.

The date was September 9, 1942. The Soviets and Nazis were duking it out in Stalingrad, and just a few days earlier, US and Australian forces had beaten the Japanese at Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Most Americans were following the war on their radios and in their newspapers, and they pictured a war taking places in faraway lands with strange names like Anzio, El Guettar, and Guadalcanal. So despite all the fear-mongering posters and East Coast blackouts, most probably would’ve been shocked to learn there was a Japanese submarine sitting off the coast of Oregon, just waiting to launch an attack on mainland USA.

The plan was to unpack a small Zero floatplane, catapult it into the air, and have it bomb the woods around the logging town of Brookings. If all went according to plan, the bombs would start massive forest fires, sending Americans into a panic, and drawing the US fleet away from its strongholds in the Pacific islands. The man chosen for the mission was a pilot named Nobuo Fujita, and along with his observer, Shoji Okuda, the two set off toward Oregon, planning to unleash hell.

Only the mission didn’t go according to plan. As it was autumn, the forests were damp and cool and not exactly conducive to forest fires. The bomb took out a few trees but didn’t start any raging blazes. A few weeks later, Fujita returned and dropped two more bombs into the Oregon forest, but while he started a few small fires, the residents of Brookings quickly put them out. Even though the Japanese had three incendiary bombs left, they decide to call off the assault. The invasion of Oregon was over . . . but the real story was just starting.

In 1962, Fujita was back in Japan, running his own hardware store, when he received a startling invitation. Much to his surprise, the citizens of Brookings had invited him to be the grand marshal of their annual Azalea Festival. The Oregonians wanted to improve American-Japanese relations, and the folks in Brookings had pooled $3,000 together for his flight. As you might expect, Fujita was rather skeptical. After all, he had tried to bomb their town. Worried they might hate him for his wartime activities, he took along the 400-year-old samurai sword he carried into combat. If everything went well, he’d present it to the people of Brookings. If things took a turn for the worse, he’d use it to commit suicide.

Fortunately, the citizens of Brookings were totally sincere in their invitation. They welcomed Fujita into their town with open arms, and the ex-pilot was so moved that he donated $1,000 to the local library to purchase books on Japan, encouraging peace between future generations of Americans and Japanese. In fact, Fujita even promised to pay for several Brookings teens to one day visit the Land of the Rising Sun. Even though he eventually went bankrupt, he scrimped and saved, and in 1985, he sponsored three children as his guests.

This trans-Pacific friendship lasted all the way into the ‘90s, and during his lifetime, Fujita flew to Brookings three more times and even planted a few trees in the spot he dropped his payload. Shortly before his death of lung cancer in September 1997, town officials declared Fujita an “ambassador of good will” and made him an honorary citizen. Today, his katana still hangs in the Brookings Library, a 400-year-old testament to the power of forgiveness.

I'm thinking that there is a real lesson here that we all could use. If these folks could forgive, then just maybe a few more of us could find some forgiveness to offer up, ya know? Sure couldn't hurt to try, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Bring some 'skeeter spray!

12 comments:

Sixbears said...

Governments are crazy. People are decent. It's thinks like this that give me hope.

In Stark NH there was a German POW camp. The Germans were treated well and many came back years later to visit the town. There's a book about called Stark Decency. Interesting bit of WWII history.

Mamahen said...

Very heart warming story. Someting you don't expect to say about a story based on wartime activities. I'm not sure I want to fight the skeeters...may have to beg off this morning .

Chickenmom said...

Most people are good. It's their politicians & governments that aren't. Coffee sounds good - I'll bring the Dunkins!

linda m said...

Most soldiers would rather be at home with their families than doing destructive things in someone else's country. If I lived in Oregon I would have forgiven this man also as he was just doing what he was ordered to do. Forgiving others is the best way to live. Since Chickenmom is bringing the Dunkins I'll bring the Skeeter spray.

texasann said...

Bubba -
The people of Japan were always very gracious to me in my years of living there, and never seemed to blame me for the US bombing 2 of their cities to smithereens. It was war then, different times, different rules.
I've got a big ole bite on my face from Saturday, so I'll join Mamahen in the kitchen for coffee.
Big hugs -

JO said...

Great Post. It would be nice if people in other country's could realize all this hate for no reason or some slight could be a disaster to all the world.But that is wishful thinking.

Out door coffee sounds wonderful after all that rain yesterday. Cleared up nicely overnight

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
I'll bet there are many more stories like this that we have never heard.

Thanks for dropping by today!



Hey Mamahen...
Can't say as I blame ya for passing on the 'skeeters. They are pretty bad lately.

Thanks for coming over this morning!



Hey Phyllis...
I believe that basically most folks are decent.

Donuts sound good today. Thanks for coming by this morning!



HermitJim said...

Hey Linda M...
I'd like to think that I would forgive the man as well, but who knows.

Thanks for bringing the spray and for the visit!



Hey Sis...
For some reason, the 'skeeters didn't bother me much Saturday.

Guess you are excited about the trip to Spain, huh?

Thanks for dropping by, Sis!



Hey Jo...
I reckon that folks will always be tempted to hold a grudge, but like in this story...sometimes the good side shows through.

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

edifice rex said...

Great story. I'll agree with what has already been said; people are decent, it's the governments that are insane.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anne...
I'd certainly like to think that most folks are like that.

Now if some of that would rub off on the PTB that would be a good thing!

Thanks for coming by today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

What a great story!! You know, forgiveness does more for the person forgiving than the one forgiven. It does good to both.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
I think you're right about that!

Many thanks for coming over today!