the entrance of Manila Bay, separating the north and south channels,
are the islands of Corregidor and Caballo. Both islands are
believed to be the rim of a volcanic caldera, rising above the
surrounding waters. Enclosing the bay from the north is an arm of
land, a peninsula called Bataan.
gunboat USS Luzon (PG 47)
operated in and from this area during the first months of
the war, following Pearl Harbor. Among those aboard ship was Boatswain's Mate
Reynolds of Peoria, Illinois. Not only was he serving in the Navy,
but he was also serving the Marines on Corregidor by helping dig gun
pits, fox holes and air raid shelters on the island.
months after the outbreak of war, President Roosevelt ordered
General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines, against the
will. Four PT boats
(PT-32, PT-34, PT-35 and PT-41) were assigned the task of spiriting
him and others through the Japanese blockade to Mindanao, a southern
island of the Philippine group. It would be a journey fraught with peril.
was aboard PT-41when they departed from the South Dock of
Corregidor, on March 11, 1942. At anchor nearby was the Luzon.
Night had fallen and Reynolds had just gotten off watch. On
the ship they'd been hearing the PT boats revving
up their Packard engines--“winding up, “as Reynolds described it. Beginning their
dangerous journey, the PT's passed close to his ship, about
200 yards away. The PT's were darkened, as they
puttered by. Reynolds was a witness to history underway.
PT boats were able to slip out of the harbor,
and beyond it, in the China Sea, they accelerated and sped off. On Reynold's ship they could
hear the PT
boats kick into gear from about five miles away, the distant sound
carrying through the night air. The plan was to travel
in a rough diamond formation; launch torpedoes, if seen; and then
rely on speed and maneuverability. But with rough seas
they weren't able to keep all together.
would make it to Mindanao, where he'd fly on to Australia, using
darkness to avoid enemy patrols. The Japanese spotted him over
the island of Timor, and flew up after his plane, which changed
course. When they figured out which airfield he'd gone to,
their fighters and dive bombers flew there, but would miss him by
ten minutes, as he'd flown on.
Bataan fell on April 9th, 1942, the Japanese occupied the peninsula,
and from there fired upon the ships in the bay. Reynolds remembered
water splashing around his ship from the shelling. Subject to air
attack in the north channel, the Luzon and other vessels
headed to the south side of Corregidor to get under the shelter of
the big guns on that side. They were chased and fired upon by enemy
one point, when
they were shooting at them, Reynolds was topside, out in the open on a platform
called the flying bridge, which measured two feet by the width of
surrounded by a railing. It was above the enclosed bridge,
with a machine gun fixed to the railing. With him in
that perilous position, was the gunnery officer, Lt. O'Rourke, and a
gunner, Petty Officer 2nd Marshall. Reynolds operated a
shoulder-held range finder, and communicated with the the two 5-inch
50 caliber guns, fore and aft.
were no foxholes for them to dive into. Nothing, Reynolds
said, but hard steel.
When the planes came down to strafe the ship, Reynolds hit the deck,
getting as low as he could get, grabbing onto the railing.
O'Rourke and Marshall threw themselves on top of
him. The bullets flew around them.
prayed, especially at times like this. He even prayed
the Latin prayers he remembered from the time he served Mass at St.
Bernard's, when Fr. Salmon was pastor and Fr. Rank was assistant.
Perhaps, quickly passing through his mind were such Mass responses,
as Et introibo altare Dei: ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam
(And I will go in unto the Altar of God: unto God, Who giveth joy to
my youth). And that day he did not go unto God, in
his youth, but would live on to his present age of 91.
that particular day he spent five hours at the helm, and became
quite tired. The Executive Officer asked him if he wanted to
be relieved, and he gladly said yes. That night a
submarine surfaced in the harbor, and took on board the ship's Lt.
O'Rourke, who Reynolds was assistant to. He recalls shaking
his hand and the sadness he felt as the Lieutenant departed.
O'Rourke was taken out because he was a valuable gunnery officer.
night, Japanese ships out in the China Sea, lying beyond the harbor
entrance, played their search lights toward the islands. Because of
the anticipated artillery fire upon them the next day and their
vulnerability, the crew stripped the ship and disembarked onto land
at Caballo during the dark. The Luzon crew was
assigned to the Gillespie gun battery positioned on top of the
island and joined the gun crew there, who operated a 14-inch
disappearing gun, mounted on a moveable carriage which would move
back in a tunnel. The Navy would
become Army on April 10, 1942.
the next few weeks they not only helped man the big gun, but also
dug defensive positions on Caballo. Once the Japanese bombed their
Gillespie position for several hours, trapping several of the men
when a bomb struck the entrance. Fortunately, they were able to dig
day, after firing their large gun from the Gillespie battery, the
gun crew took shelter in the tunnel as they knew there
would be return fire. An incoming Japanese shell struck the
entrance, exploding, and a large piece of the spent casing flew
about, vibrating through the tunnel and ricocheted off the wall,
striking Reynolds in the back, knocking the wind
out of him and leaving him gasping. He thought he had a hole in
his back. He was the last one the piece hit as it had already
cut the legs of two others. The piece was about a foot long and 3/4 of
an inch thick, and it was the smooth, outside surface of shell
fragment that whacked him, flat against
the back. Had it hit with its broken edge, it might've killed him. The middle of his back was severely
bruised, all black and blue.
lay about a quarter of a mile distant from
and the Luzon crew could see the fighting on the other
island. Corregidor is shaped like a tadpole, and on the narrower
“tail” of the tadpole, the Marines were fighting in hand-to-hand
combat with the Japanese at the airfield located there.
dawn on May 6th, their skipper sent four of the crew to scuttle the
prevent the Japanese from seizing it. They opened all the valves and
she sank in fifty feet of water.
about 10 a.m., Reynolds looked over toward Corregidor and saw a
large white flag topside; they'd run up a bed sheet over the island.
Everyone began to lose color and pale. It was a sad moment. He said
Skinny Wainwright decided to give up the ghost. The surrender was
set for noon but the Japanese still bombed and shelled them that
afternoon, and for the 15 minutes before midnight, they bombarded
them heavily with artillery fire.
Caballo, the surrendered men were ordered to stack their arms. When
the first Japanese soldier came uphill to the Gillespie battery, he
had a flame-thrower strapped on, and repeatedly waved it under
Reynold's nose. The Japanese stole any watches or rings they saw
on the Americans. Reynolds had already thrown his ring over the
cliff, along with his photo album. He wasn't letting these fall
into their hands.
captive, the Americans were taken to a gymnasium farther down. They
were humiliated by being made to bow as they passed a guard at the
doorway. The next day, on May 8th, they were given a tablespoon of
lard and a tablespoon of peas. On the 9th they let them have
water, but it was the water they used for washing clothes before
their surrender several days before. The doctors added two drops of
iodine to every canteen.
next day they moved about 300 of them in a barge over to Corregidor
and marched them from the dock to the 92nd garage. A Jap NCO wanted
ten husky men for a work detail, and Reynolds volunteered for it,
figuring maybe they would have to feed them. They did, and fed them
from the rations of the American garrison. The detail worked to
remove radio facilities from the island. While working the tunnels,
Reynolds could see all the food stored in them. Reynolds said
what the Japanese
found could have fed them three meals a day instead of two or even
the one they had. It upset him that this had been the case.
would get up at one or two o'clock in the morning, to stand in line
to get water to drink that day. Imprisonment was taking its toll,
in blisters and dysentery.
Corregidor they were taken by ship across the bay to Manila,
transferred to landing barges, and then made to jump in the water
twenty feet from the shore. They were marched through the street
to a prison. Along the way, Filipinos threw them food and gave them
the V-for-Victory sign. Two days later they were moved again, and
put in hot boxcars, a hundred to a car under Japanese guard. After
they reached their destination, and staying overnight on the grounds
of a school, they were marched again for six hours to Camp III.
Again, the Filipinos threw them food, and this time sang
"God Bless America."
Camp III several men had gin smuggled in for them, drank it and
walked out the gate. An NCO stopped them and they beat him up.
They, in turn, were beaten all night, and the next day, tied
outside, in the sun beating down. Reynolds and several others were
given picks and shovel to dig holes, at the far side of the camp.
When it dawned on him what the holes were for, it made him sick.
They trimmed the holes as best they could as it was the last thing
they could do for the men.
before sunset the Japanese marched the men to their graves, and
required the other prisoners to watch. The condemned men stood by
the holes, their hands tied behind them, facing the firing squad of
twelve soldiers. They were felled by a volley of bullets.
Reynolds said they were “four of the bravest to ever face a firing
said said during the following days, there was tension in the camp
and the food was “rotten.” Buckets of rice in the galley had large
green blowflies on it, laying eggs. They wouldn't let them scrape
the thick crust off but chopped it up in the bucket. There was more
became sick with jaundice, beri beri and “couldn't keep anything
down.” A lot of the prisoners were becoming weaker .
were taken to Manila, where 332 of them were put in a transport, and
after about a week, they arrived at Palawan, a long island in the
southwestern part of the Philippine archipelago. They were put to
work building an airfield, clearing jungle for a runway. Six
prisoners escaped and the others were nervous, because before they
left Manila, they were put in shooting squads of ten men each.
They were told that if one escaped, the other nine would be shot.
This was more than decimation, the execution every tenth person in a
group! It was decimation ten times over!
the Japanese didn't carry out the threat then. And for another
month they cut through banana, coconut and papaya groves. One day
in late September 1942, when the the guards took count, they
discovered two men missing. The CO threatened them that if they
“continued to disobey his orders, he would throw a blitz at us that
would make Pearl Harbor look like a picnic.” He gave them three
options: stay in the barracks with less food for three days; work
with a ball-and-chain; or obey and work harder. They chose the
latter, and could pretend they were working harder.
of the problems the prisoners had was getting “dynamite fever,”
blasting trees. They would take the wrappers off the sticks while
sweating, and when they wiped their brows, the dynamite would get on
them with their pores, open from the heat. Then they'd black out.
Reynolds was one of the few who didn't get the fever, but most did.
in 1943 the conditions were worsening. Not only was it hard work
but the men were working without shoes and their feet developed
day they were pushing mining cars loaded with dirt across a runway
they were leveling, to an incline. The car that Reynolds was
moving with a couple of other prisoners, had about 1,500 lbs. in
it. It jumped the track, and as they were trying to get it back on
the rails. Another mining car came down the incline, slamming
into Reynolds, caught between the cars. It broke his
thigh bone in two. The accident knocked the breath out of him, and when
it came back, it came in uncontrolled jerks. Becoming aware of his
injury, he couldn't see his knee as his leg was twisted back under
him. He was shocked by the sight and let out a piercing
scream. Men came running to help.
doctor, happened to be nearby. He pulled his leg out and
put a pick handle along it. Another helper cut a tree limb
and they used that outside the leg, to splint it.
felt numb. Dr. Hickman
asked the Japanese for a truck to take him back to camp. They had no
bunks so he was laid on the wooden floor, and lay there for six
days, not eating for three. The doctor couldn't set his leg because
the femur "had jumped." He'll never forget the men who attended him,
sharing their rations, and he mentioned in particular, Navy
Corpsman Francis M. Parrish, who sponge-bathed Reynolds daily and
did all he could to make him comfortable. He also
remembered in particular an army corpsman named Sgt. Philip Brodsky.
He said Brodsky was one of the nicest fellows you'd ever want to
Back on Luzon
small vessel put into port on April 21st. The Japanese put
him aboard and sent him back to Manila, to Bilibid Prison, where at its dispensary a
Navy doctor named Kline examined him. Measuring his legs, they found the left
leg was 2 ˝ inches shorter than the right. A couple of other naval
surgeons named Wade and Nelson, inserted a pin through
his knee, so they could pull the femur out, and one of the doctors
set the leg as well as he could and put a brace on it. As he lay
in bed, he was bothered by bedbugs and mosquitoes. A bad infection
developed around the pin, and maggots were getting into it.
Reynolds would take a straw to try to push out the larva. When Dr.
Nelson saw the problem, he removed the brace, cut the pin shorter,
put iodine on it, pulled it out, and put Reynolds in tape-traction.
in July, Reynold's leg felt better and they removed the traction.
They gave him crutches, but told him not to walk on it for a couple
days. Later, he went on crutches to read some poetry to the doctor
from the Luzon who was partly blind. It began to rain, and
a crutch slipped on the porch steps. He fell on his left leg,
snapping the bone and went black. His leg dangled, and he was back
in bed for a couple months.
December 19th, 1943, he was transferred from Bilibid Prison to Camp
I at Cabanatuan, north from Manila, where he saw most of his
shipmates who were alive. From then, until July 1944, Reynolds
worked various jobs, back and forth from Manila, including working
on a farm, on an airfield, and washing barrels.
July 17th he was sent aboard
ship, the Nissyo Maru, destined to sail to Japan.
More than 1500 men were crammed into a hold of the Nissyo, so crowded that
they couldn't even sit down. Their air was from a fifteen-foot
square hatch above them. The men in the corners were passing
out. It was suffocating. After three hours, they let 900 go to a
forward hold, but they were still crowded.
had to stand or sit down upright in shifts so other men could lie down for a while. Their
“latrines” were 5-gallon cans. The stench of urine and defecation
was so bad it was described as gagging. Underway, the ship would
pitch and roll and sometimes the cans would tip over, flooding the
floor. Some men were too weak to move. The conditions
the dark waters, awaiting the convoy, was a wolf pack of three
American submarines, the Flasher, Crevalle and Angler.
It was early in the morning of the 26th and down in the hold,
Reynolds was sitting next to Chief Rawlins, a shipmate from the days when they
were on Yangtze River patrol together. Rawlins said,
"Listen...There's fish in the water," identifying the
distinctive sound of a torpedo.1 Reynolds said it passed
under their ship, and struck another ship, farther inside the convoy
in a more protected position. The sky suddenly lit up like daylight.
The tanker Otorisan Maru had been torpedoed. Their guards closed the overhead
hatch, sealing the hold. One man went for the ladder and a riot
broke out. The enemy would've shot anyone coming up the ladder.
Panic set in.
said an army chaplain jumped to his feet, and called for quiet. He
remembered him as a Catholic priest named Father Reilly.
Death on the Hellships, a book which chronicled the ordeal of
prisoners at sea, the author Gregory Michno
wrote that the priest "climbed a pole near the center of the hold
and tried to calm the men. He continuously repeated the Hail
Mary in a firm yet gentle voice until his words had the desired
effect. 'Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now and
at the hour of our death.'
repetition his voice lowered, and the men quieted down accordingly.
It became so quiet that the noise of the far off depth charges were
heard but they brought no more fear."
recalled that he said,
“Men this is Father Reilly talking. I just want to say few words to
you.” He said he knew they were scared, but to think of the brave
sailors in the submarines being depth charged by the destroyers. He
continued, “Let's all say the Rosary, and include the submarine
sailors in our prayers.” Reynolds said that all you heard in the
hold, apart from men crying, was the roar of a burning ship and the
Rosary being prayed. The
men who were Catholic were responding to the chaplain praying,
praying as well. Father Reilly had gotten the
men calmed down, but Reynolds said that they were still shaking.
today, that that chaplain deserved a medal.
next day they were allowed in groups of ten out on the deck to get a
washing from a salt-water hose held by another prisoner as the
others ringed around him. Even a small amount of the water made them
said they were having less and less to drink. A couple had watches
and traded them with the guards for water. For days Reynolds was
not able to swallow even a little rice because of his dry throat.
18 days aboard the
Nissyo Maru , on the 3rd of August, 1944, they arrived at the
Japanese port of Moji, present-day Kitakyushu, on the island of
next day they were moved ashore and each was given a Japanese
service card with personal data entered on it. They were marched to
a hall and allowed to lie down. They could fully stretch out, the
first time since they embarked in mid-July. Reynolds slept 12 hrs.
They were able to fill their canteens from spigots and were being
fed two times a day.
the 5th of August, they were taken by ferry across the channel
separating Kyushu from the largest island Honshu. On Honshu they
were put aboard a train for Nagoya, a city farther to the north.
Still tired from their trip up from the Philippines, some of them
crawled under the seats to sleep around 10 p. m. About the time
they'd fallen asleep, the guards came through the cars raising heck,
telling them to shut up, and pulling window shades down. They saw
searchlights in the sky and figured there was an air raid. When they
arrived at the Nagoya, situated south and west of Tokyo, a tram took
them to the village of Narumi and a short march to their
Nagoya their new work place was in the rail yards. The guards were
seeking a person to splice wire lines and Reynolds and Boatswains
Mate Rawlins volunteered and were put on a two-man detail for that
job. Reynolds said Rawlins was a Chief Boatswains Mate and had been
in the Navy 28 years, and knew about splicing, more than he knew. It
was six-strand one or two inch wire cable used to hook to cars to
drag them out of the way.
lunch would muster the men at a metal shed and the prisoners would
have a ration of tea and 4 oz. of bread. This was the routine
through August, September and October, and on occasion there was an
became more frequent in November, with bombs exploding like
thunder. In December, bombs hit the rail yards and also did a lot
of damage to industry. During the daylight raids, the Japanese
would lock the prisoners in the metal shed, which served as their
mess hall, and get themselves into foxholes. Yet, through it all,
not a bomb fell on the shed.
devise ways to get something more to eat. One way was
taking feed from a horse. They
used horses for transport in the rail yards, and when the Japanese
put a nosebag on a horse, the prisoners would await an opportunity
to empty the feed out of the bag and put the bag back on the horse.
They then would secretly take the contents back to the camp, remove
the straw, and cook the grain over a charcoal fire in their
barracks. The horse never told on them.
January, 1945, the Japanese shot down a B-29 over the Nagoya camp;
it exploded and scattered pieces fell onto the camp. From the
printing on the bomb fragments they could tell what kind of bombs
they were. Several B-29 crew survived, parachuting out. They were
taken prisoner, incarcerated at the Nagoya camp, but held in
solitary confinement. As Reynolds remembers, the Japanese called the
B-29, “Bee-nee joo-koo.”
during a raid, they would send the prisoners from the rail yards
back to their camp. One day they were close to being back, when they
saw a group of about 27 planes “going to make a run on our prison
compound.” Reynolds had just gotten to his bunk, when they dropped
their bombs. They heard the whoosh of the bombs and the
explosions. Reynolds said, “the whole end of their barracks was
blown out.” The compound took nine direct hits. It left
holes all over and a roof that leaked, but not one British or American
prisoner was injured. The end of their barracks was never repaired.
February and March of 1945, the enemy was bringing in “whole rail
convoys of bombed out trains.” The prisoners had to clean off the
burned and charred wood so they could be rebuilt. The Americans
were ruining them faster than the Japanese could fix them.
early March an earthquake struck, tumbling large smoke stacks and
knocking power out. The tram to and from the POW work site couldn't
run. They told the prisoners they'd have to march the twelve miles
back to camp. About 6 o'clock in the evening they stopped to rest
by a flooded rice paddy and saw frogs jumping everywhere. Reynolds
figured it had to be a frog farm with thousands of frogs. Two
hundred men waded into the paddy to catch frogs. There were deeper
parts where bombs had struck. Reynolds caught four frogs, skinned
them and ate their legs raw. He said they tasted good.
raids became more frequent. Sometimes they saw “formations coming in
from the sea.” Sometimes the planes were so low at night, they could
see the lights inside the plane through the bomb bay doors.
1945 was a hot month. The planes were coming to bomb day and night,
burning everything they saw. During this time, 72% of Nagoya was
destroyed. Around the beginning of August they could see gunfire
from the Navy at night. The planes were starting to strafe, once
strafing them and the Japanese.
Their old guard, who wasn't armed
with a gun but had a sword-like stick, was a man of perhaps 60 to 65
years of age. He was a veteran who had served in China. They
called him “Pops.” On the 7th
of August, Pops told Reynolds and Rawlins that the Americans had
dropped a “heat bomb” on Hiroshima, killing “takson”(many) people.
Days later Pops also told them about Nagasaki being hit with a “heat
bomb,” and again “takson”were killed.
The War is Over
10:30 on the morning of August 15, the guards marched them back to
the tram, to go back to the camp. The Japanese that they could see
were bowing to the west, and as they were marched though the village
of Narumi, people were outside their homes, bowing toward a voice on
the radio. Inside the compound, guards were at attention, bowing
toward the voice of the Emperor from the loud speaker, telling them
“the war was lost and Japan was going to accept the terms laid down
by the allied commanders” at noon that day. Someone told the
interpreter they wanted the B-29 flyers held in solitary,
released. They'd been held since being shot down in February.
the Emperor was done speaking the Commander and the guards “just
bailed out.” On the 17th and the 18th planes dropped leaflets
telling people not to touch the prisoners. The next morning they
heard a low-flying plane approach. They saw the star and bar and
word Navy on it. The pilot and crew were waving. Down on the
ground they yelled and cried. It was a beautiful sight for Reynolds
in the plane the radio operator signaled a message with a blinker
light: Did they need medical attention right away? Two signalmen
among the POW's rigged a flashing light, to flash a message back,
telling them thank you, that they were okay for now but they needed
food. The plane signaled that they would be back. They banked,
then swooped over the compound as the prisoners cheered, and
cried. The plane wagged its wings as it left.
was 192 lbs. when the war began and was down to 96 lbs. The weight
difference would soon start to narrow.
three hours later a whole squadron of torpedo bombers came flying in
single file, passing low, dropping packages covered in canvas and
rubber. The first three drops bounced thirty feet into the air, but
not one bottle of three cases of rum was broken. The other planes
dropped shoes, uniforms, rations, and reading material.
prisoners signaled, asking for an American flag, and the next day
carrier planes brought the flag for them. They felt better with
the star-spangled banner flying over the compound.
the 22nd of August, B-29's came flying over with their bomb bay
doors open. They dropped pallets containing four fifty-five gallon
drums, with parachutes attached. The chutes, however , collapsed
from the weight. And the barrels were falling straight down, more
dangerous, Reynolds said, than bombs. One crashed through the
galley roof, spilling peaches all over.
August 30, they marched to the tram, and hurrahing, left the POW
camp for the last time, were mustered at the waterfront, and taken
to a hospital ship. When Reynolds boarded, he stopped, turned aft
and saluted the flag. He said, “I then turned to the OD, saluted
him and then cried like a baby. I asked him for permission to come
aboard his ship. He saluted me and said permission granted. I knew
that I was home.”
were sent to the top deck to a delousing station, were sprayed,
given uniforms and were sent for a shower. The mess hall was open to
them and Reynolds had bacon and eggs, juice, and his first cup of
coffee in years. One gunner's mate overdid it by taking a loaf of
bread, hollowed it some, and stuffed it with a pound of butter. He
then proceeded to eat it.
were put aboard a DE, a destroyer escort ,to go to Yokohama.
When Reynolds went through that ship's chow line, he passed up all
the other food and had the mess cook fill his tray with strawberry
ice cream. He ate the whole thing.
Yokohama, they were transferred to the USS Ozark, an LST
bound for Guam on the 2nd of September. Eight days later,
they reached Guam and were taken to the naval hospital for physical
exams. The base commander gave them a steak fry on the ball field,
and Reynolds had a large steak.
On September 12th they re-boarded the Ozark and headed for
Pearl Harbor where they were given RAMP identity cards, the letters
standing for Repatriated Allied Military Personnel.
There was liberty, but a 6 o'clock curfew was in effect and they
well overstayed their liberty. Something after 1 o'clock the next
morning, they bought three or four dozen doughnuts at a bakery and
sat on the curb, eating and singing. An MP jeep with a couple
sergeants showed up and started giving them a hard time. Reynolds
pulled out his RAMP card and showed it to them. One of the MP's
said, “Okay fellahs, there's a park down the street about three
blocks. Go down there, find a park bench and go to sleep. I'll
MP jeep come for you at 0600 and take you back to the Ozark.” And at
0600 two MP jeeps came and took them back to the dock.
LST continued on to San Francisco, and when they came to the
Golden Gate, they were all on deck. They received a real welcome
home, with fire boats shooting streams of water, bells, whistles,
boats racing around them and boats with music. They pulled up to the
pier and it was “loaded with people, yelling and screaming.”
was a little ceremony prepared for them. When Reynold's turn came,
the loud speaker announced, “Victor C. Reynolds, Bos'n Mate Second
Class, United States Navy, Peoria, Illinois.” Reynolds saluted the
Officer of the Deck , turned aft to salute the flag, and then came
down the gangplank to a roped-off area about two feet wide. As they
walked the narrow, roped way to the bus, thousands of people were
cheering and crying. They reached out to shake their hands and pat
them on the back. Women reached out to hug them. It was a very
left the States on December 1, 1940, and was coming back after 4
years and 10 months. So many of the intervening days
were lived as a prisoner, and while by the calendar, those
days are past, recollections of the ordeal still come back to him,
when a dark cloud cast a shadow over his life and the lives of many
remembering, sometimes tears well up and surface from the emotion
inside and brim forth from his eyes, eyes that have seen human
suffering, from the midst of it.
Victor Reynolds, United States Navy, still been on Palawan on Dec.
14, 1944, he might have been executed in a mass killing of the
prisoners. Between 133 and 141 were massacred. For
Victor, the joy of coming home, might never have been.
say he doesn't know how he came through it all, but then he'll add that
Someone had His hand on his shoulder...and in so saying, he credits
God, the One giving life to all.
Navy, Pearl Harbor 1950-51
a country known for freedom and promise, is now experiencing a
decline, resulting from the actions of some of its leaders, their policy and
many who vote them into office. It's culture has deteriorated. We would do well to look back to the
America that was, and to men like Reynolds who suffered and
sacrificed for it.
World War II and in wars since, many served their country. Some gave
their lives for it; some were wounded for it; and some suffered as
prisoners of war, thinking of survival and hoping for the time they
could come home. One these was Victor Reynolds who fought for
America, yet sadly was surrendered to the foe, and lived through
awful, even inhuman conditions.
his story we see how much he and others appreciated the flag of
America. For a time they knew what it was
to live under foreign domination, without it.