Monday, May 31, 2010

It's not all about the barbecue.

From We Band of Angels, Elizabeth M. Norman, Pocket Books, 1999:

"The Malinta Tunnel complex, organized into a series of narrow corridors, or catacombs, called "laterals," was like a small cramped city with sections for administration, supply, mess, ordinance, and a thousand-bed hospital staffed at first by the few dozen nurses originally stationed at Corregidor's post hospital above ground and, later, by the nurses evacuated from Bataan and some civilian volunteers. . .A main corridor 750 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 15 feet high served as a spine for the laterals. . .

The incessant [Japanese] bombing was concussive and some of the women developed severe earaches and headaches. Walls and ceilings trembled and shook, medicine bottles toppled out of cabinets, bunk beds bounced across the floor. The concussions increased the air pressure in the narrow laterals and caused the nurses' skirts to wrap tightly around their legs. . .

. . .The concussion was so colossal it slammed shut the tunnel's slatted iron entrance gate, and the laterals echoed with screams from the outside. Corpsmen and nurses in the nearby laterals sprinted toward the entrance to aid their comrades. When they arrived they had to pry open the iron gate, a grisly task, for jutting between the slats were body parts and pieces of torn and mangled flesh. . .

. . .almost every one of the seventy-seven Angels had dental and gum problems from three years of prison-camp food, diets dangerously low in calcium and vitamin D. . ."

From And if I Perish, Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, Anchor Books, 2004

"...the sounds of bombs exploding in Anzio harbor had been rumbling through the hospital site for at least thirty minutes as Miernicke entered the postoperative tent and began her rounds. She had changed the dressing on one patient and was about to examine the bandage of the patient to her right when the roar of airplane engines vibrated through the tent. A moment later, the sound of machine-gun fire grew louder: a German and an American plane were engaged in a dogfight. As the two planes swept low across the hospital, Miernicke heard a whistling sound as a .50-caliber machine-gun bullets ripped through the canvas wall. Almost immediately, she heard a short, soft cry on her left. When Miernicke turned, she faced the soldier whose dressing she had changed only moments earlier. The young man was staring motionless up at her. . .he had been killed instantly."

"If anybody had a complete strap on their helmet, they had not been over there very long. The strap would fall off and get burned on the hot stove (while heating water for bathing). . ."

". . .I can still see him at times--whenever bad memories come to mind."


"If ever I come close to believing, it is when I hear 'Taps'." --Robert Heinlein

4 comments:

me said...

Wow ~ SO powerful ~ thank you for sharing ~

Penny said...

Thank you for this, and thank you for the reminder that Memorial Day is NOT the "first day of summer". We've become a nation of idiots. :-(

messymimi said...

May we never forget...

Sarah said...

My son serves. Pride and fear live on the same coin.