Sixty-eight years had past when warplanes and warships of the allied forces landed on the shoreline of Red Beach in the town of Palo in the province of Leyte. The war fleet came to deliver the final strike at the Japanese Imperial Army that was at the brink of defeat at the hands of our own guerilla fighters and the allied soldiers. The coming of the Americans was in fulfillment of the famous words “I Shall Return” of General Douglas Mac Arthur. Such act was viewed by many of our countrymen as the one that will bring liberation to this war-torn nation.
Tales of our forebears portray a good image of Americans as good elder brother that saved our land from the Japanese invasion. Those who survived from that war are commonly grateful to the Americans and the allied forces for defeating what they consider as cruel invaders and oppressors of our people. The cruelty is not a tale of make believe for many of Japanese atrocities had been documented. Chief of the harrowing stories had to do with what had been tagged as comfort women. This group of old women had carried all their lives the trauma of sexual perversity perpetrated by Japanese soldiers.
Their plight had been retold many times over as they seek apology, justice and compensation. Nothing good seems going their way from either America or Japan. Their number is surely dwindling through the years and their fight for justice is getting far in the dark tunnel of a cruel system. These helpless victims may never obtain in their lifetime the things that they had long been fighting for. Their search for justice is as elusive as the American dream of our war veterans.
Both war veterans and the helpless comfort women are into an unending march in search for justice to the great beyond.
We still are in search for that elusive liberty from foreign control and invasion. The struggle to reclaim well deserved recognition for our veterans is a lifelong saga that had gone beyond the lifetime of our guerilla soldiers who gallantly held their ground against the cruel and oppressive enemies. Our guerillas who are surviving in the lifelong wait for compensation are still in the fight for justice and truth in the hope that they will attain what their counterpart soldiers of the allied forces had been rewarded long ago. We always look at our veterans with pity every time they come out as symbols during yearly commemoration of that Leyte landings where they valiantly fought for our freedom and liberty.
The commemoration this year brings the reminder that there is still an unfinished war insofar as our veterans and the comfort women are concerned. Government must act decisively in its duty as parent of our veterans and comfort women in their search for justice they deserve. There should no longer be any delay in any government action for the ranks of the veterans and the comfort women could not withstand more prolonged agony of their waiting for what in the end may be empty hope. The need to put an end to this unending battle for our veterans is of great urgency. They have dwindled over the years and there ought to be a conclusion to this seemingly continuing war.
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By: Al Ellema
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