So, I talked about my grandfather who survived the A-bomb in Hiroshima yesterday. His life has been my inspiration to be a better human being. But I had never imagined that a twist of fate would lead me to the person I would spend the rest of my life with.
I met JT in Hawaii during the Christmas holiday in 1999. He was visiting his brother D whom I knew and Mr. D introduced JT to me. One late night after partying at the bar, JT invited me over to his hotel room he was staying (no intention to have any sexual thing, I swear!!). We spent hours and hours talking about our lives, and we somehow ended up talking about the movies we loved. I told him one of my favorite movies was "Saving Private Ryan." He said, "Wow. It is a great movie...," then he went on to ask me why I liked the movie. So, I explained to him about my grandfather surviving the A-bomb and how his experience had shaped my belief in world peace. JT gave me another big "Wow," then said, "you wouldn't believe what I am going to tell you...."
JT told me about his uncle R (his grandmother's younger brother) who was deployed to Marianas island working as a technician for Army during WWII. He was in Stealth program, tuning the props for the B-52 bombers to make them silent, so people wouldn't hear the plane as they flew overhead. Most people who were in the program didn't know the true mission of the aircraft, The name of the plane was Enola Gay.
When JT told me the story, I was thinking to myself, "Wow..., this can't be true... I mean this is too much of a coincidence.." I think JT saw confusion on my face, so he said "You can ask my gram and she'll tell you all about it."
Several years had passed and I had the opportunity to meet Uncle R at a restaurant in NJ. We really didn't discuss about WWII until we were having deserts.
Uncle R broke the silence and talked to me. "So, Maki, JT told me about where you are from and about your grandfather. Do you want to see the picture of me in front of the plane?" Before I had the chance to say "yes," his wife, auntie M, poked his body with her elbow saying, "Oh my R, would you stop that? Of course she doesn't want to see such a thing. Don't be rude.."
But I was really honored to see the photo of him.. When he took out his tiny photo from his wallet and hand it to me, my heart was beating really strong and fast. There he was in the black and white photo, standing in front of the Enola Gay. It was just surreal experience. As I was gazing into the photo, Uncle R tried to apologize to me...
He said, "Maki, I just want to tell you how sorry I am for what happened. I was young and far away from home. All I wanted was the war to be over, so I could go home. They said the plane would end the war. But after I found out what had happened, Oh my god.. I couldn't forgive myself. I have had this guilt in my heart that I've been carried for so long..." I looked in his eyes and I was holding his hands as I listened to his story. And I thought to myself, "God, this is what my grandpa wanted to see..." It was such a peaceful moment.
United States and Japan were enemy during WWII. Japan's offense had caused tremendous pain to so many innocent people in Asia. I still feel extreme shame and grief. But my grandfather used to tell me that the true enemy is war itself and it is my generation's duty to pursue and protect the peace so many people fought for.
When I met Uncle R and had the conversation with him, I realised that time can heal pain if you allow yourself. I know right and there, my grandfather would have wanted to sit and have the conversation with Uncle R. That would have been the must beautiful moment.
I do not talk about politics in my blog, but I will say this; I hate to see innocent people suffer from on-going wars. So many people sacrifices their lives during WWII, so that we can live a happy life. Life sometimes carries you through unexpected events, but I pray everyday that I will lead a good life and be a good parent to my daughters, and raise them right, so that my children's generation do not have to go through the suffering that so many others in previous generation had endured.
Uncle R passed away 4 years ago. His wife, auntie M gave me the photo of him in front of Enola gay. She told me, "R would have wanted you to have it..." I placed the photo right next to my grandfather who passed away 20 years ago. I look at their photos everyday, thanking them for all they had done for us. And that is my moment of eternal peace...