N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “WWII

Another Statue Being Removed?

Statue in Sarasota, FL…Celebrating WWII end

We were fortunate to live in a wonderful, little town named Venice, Florida for a number of years where my husband was a Christian minister. The next city, north of Venice is Sarasota…also a beautiful town on the Gulf of Mexico. Standing near the beach is a patriotic statue of the famous picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in celebration of the end to fighting in WWII.

In fact, when this photo was made, the whole population of New York was celebrating in the middle of the streets. Every time I rode by the statue in Sarasota, I thought how great that we are still reminded of the wonderful military and medical personnel that served and died in WW II.

Unfortunately, the statue was sprayed with red paint and the city is considering removing it all together. Why?

Is it pressure from various groups? Have we stopped celebrating our World War II victory? Is this like so many statues that depict history that are being damaged, removed or defaced? Removing this statue is a slap in the face to our bravest men and women.

Vandals, You couldn’t find a better place for your thoughts?

A letter written to the Sarasota mayor and commissioner:

“It commemorates the celebration of VJ Day and the end of World War II,” Rep. Vern Buchanan wrote in a letter to the mayor and city commission. “This representation of that moment more than 75 years ago reminds us of an important time in our country’s history and honors the ‘Greatest Generation’ who served and sacrificed.”

The 25-foot “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture depicts an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in Aug. 14, 1945, showing a Navy sailor named George Mendonsa kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant, in the street. (Taken from the article written by Michael Riuz)

Pictures of the Sailor and the Nurse….George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman in the younger and older years. George died at 95 and Greta died at 92. Thank you for your lives and years of service!

We hope for the sake of all those Gold Star families and brave veterans who fought for freedom, Sarasota will reconsider its removal. San Diego has the same statue…refurbished it…and made it permanent. At least we hope it is still there! Keep celebrating the brave and the free.

________

UPDATE AFTER THIS BLOG WAS POSTED: UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER STATUE WILL STAY ON SARASOTA WATER FRONT:

The announcement came in an tweet from the Florida Congressman and well before Sarasota’s elected officials were poised to discuss the issue. (Most likely because the citizens of Sarasota were in an uproar!)

VIDEO

Click to view video


D Day June 6… Sacrifice of so many for Freedom!

Jack Claiborne heads to Normandy at 95 years old

 

Some of our elderly veterans are heading to Normandy one last time. We are told that over 400 per day are passing away.  If the young people in your family do not know about or don’t understand that our freedoms today are due to these brave men, give them a history lesson.  It is extremely important to do so as we are told after World War II was over, and we went to liberate the death camps of the Holocaust… that “those who do not remember will live it over again.”

 

 Blessings to all veterans on this June 6…D DAY. 

Below is footage that will help us remember exactly what brave men did to keep Europe free.  We must never forget.

Rare Old D-Day video:   Turn up sound:

 


Whatever happened to SS General Kammler after WWII?

In 2016, I wrote my first historical novel. This was available online as a blog and then published as a paperback.  More recently, I renewed this book called The Seeds and the updated version is now available on Amazon.

What is this book about?    A brief summary is below:

The Seeds asks the question: “Whatever happened to SS General Hans Kammler?”

After World War II, a number of high-ranking officers fled to places like Argentina. This question seemed to be of great interest to my blog readers. Some readers wrote emails that they knew where General Kammler had lived. One even said the General was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution.

General Kammler, as portrayed in this book, is entirely fiction. However, the accounts of him, are based on historical facts.   From 1944, General Kammler was head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project. The enormous interest in General Kammler led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and exciting portrayal of him in The Seeds novel evolved.

Locations as described in this novel, such as the World Seed Vault in Norway…sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault”… are actual places that are active today.  For many readers, other locations, people and culture of the Middle East are generally not understood by people around the world. The story involvement in the Middle East only increases the mystery behind the writing of this historical fiction.    Link to The Seeds 


THE SEEDS

Whatever happened to SS. General Hans Kammler?

This is the question that many history readers are asking and will enjoy THE SEEDS novel that attempts to answer it.

The Seeds is now on Amazon as a published book and on Kindle.
Amazon book cover back and front

THE SEEDS, a historical fiction novel by N.W.Boyer

 THE SEEDS  originated from a blog that I have written for a number of years called Boyer Writes. One post on World War II and the Nazis, who fled to Argentina and other places, seemed to be of great interest to my readers. I was amazed that one particular post called What Happened to General Hans Kammler? received hits every day for years. Some readers wrote me that they knew where General Kammler had lived or that he was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution. Readers even started to make comments back and forth to one another because they were certain that they knew the answer to the question of the General’s whereabouts.
Who was General Hans Kammler?
General Kammler, as portrayed in this book is entirely fiction. The accounts of him, based on historical facts is that Kammler, from 1944, was head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project.
This fascination about General Kammler also led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and thus, this novel evolved.
First, I gave it birth online with the help of pictures and videos found on the web. Many of the places described in the novel, as the World Seed Vault in Norway, sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” or the people, places and cultures of the Middle East, are generally not known or understood by other parts of the world. This only increased the mystery behind the writing.

I hope you will follow or return often to this blog site to see what other books  I have written.   Thank you for reading.

See further information on THE SEEDS:    Available on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle. 


THE SEEDS historical novel by N.Boyer

The Seeds, written by N.W. Boyer, is now finished.    To those of you who like mystery, intrigue, love, and suspense, this may be your opportunity for the best “curl up with a book” or blog that you have found in a while.  Each chapter is presented as the latest in the plot written around “What happened to SS Gen.Hans Kammler?”    This is a new online experiment with publishing a book chapter by chapter. Because each post shows the last chapter and certainly one does not want to know the ending without knowing the story, you, the reader, may simply click on any chapter off to the side of the blog to start at the beginning.

Written amid historical pictures and videos, this novel unfolds with exciting places and people from around the world. The primary setting is The World Seed Vault in Norway.    Sound interesting?   Here is your chance to follow and enjoy THE SEEDS.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE SEEDS     

An example of the graphics used in The Seeds (chapter 31) is the amazing interactive view of the art recovered after WWII from the salt mines.    Click to view.  Run mouse over paintings.

Slide presentation of some of the pictures  in The Seeds novel by N.W. Boyer

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The Seeds novel by N.W. Boyer takes off

THE SEEDS is a historical fiction novel based on “What ever happened to SS General Hans Kammler” a blog that I wrote  in 2010.  Almost everyday, there are people reading this post with a number of comments including one reader who said Gen. Kammler was his uncle.   This may tell us how interested readers are in World War II.

The novel, The Seeds, speculates on  those who may have evaded capture and punishment for terrible war crimes or who may have been assimilated into the West as engineers and scientists to further  space exploration.    2010 blog on Gen Hans Kammler

In the case of SS General Kammler, the mystery novel, The Seeds, brings the reader to modern times  where Gen. Kammler may be located.  It also makes the reader face the problems of war, terrorism, and misery that we are  in this modern world.  Characters in the story plot to change the world and its leadership as we know it.

Because of the great abilities we have when blogging through WordPress, this novel is intermixed with pictures and videos that add to the drama. Careful research has gone into the writing, with some writer privilege throw into the mix.

Eventually this book will go to print, but not in the same way that it can be shared online.   Chapter by chapter, The Seeds unfolds. If one misses a chapter, he is a click away from catching up, as each previous  chapter is shown next to the latest writing.

You have an opportunity to send in your email and be notified with each blog press.   Just having posted chapter 22, here is the link to  THE SEEDS.

Happy reading!

George_Adamski_ship_1

Artist concept of what Nazi invention may have been intended to fly from The Bell using Viktor Schauberger’s air turbine and lifting liquids and gases. Was this flying saucer type aircraft actually invented? Read The SEEDS.

ANazi_Bell_test_rig_300 few pictures from the chapters:

LongyearbyenNorway

Longyearbyen, Norway near The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard

SandMilkwortSeed

Seeds are stored in case of a world wide catastrophe


THE SEEDS a novel by N.W. Boyer

For those who love mystery and intrigue, I would again like to introduce to my readers my novel, THE SEEDS, which is fiction with a few historical characters thrown into the plot.    Chapter by chapter the mystery unfolds.  I have set up a special blog so that my audience may read from the beginning. Click on any chapter missed. Simply leave your email if you’d like to be notified as each chapter is published.   It would also be great to hear your comments as you get into the story.   THE SEEDS

CastillejaFlowerSeed


Something Comforting

Ever think what actually means the most to a child?  At this Christmas season when we are thinking of a special gift for that little one that we love, we may want to think what he or she would grab first if there was a need to run away from danger or they were feeling insecure and afraid.

This may sound strange, but the little boy below had survived the terrors of war and obviously shared this terrifying time with his stuffed animal. Both of them look as if they have had a rough experience.   I can only guess that he and his family had to run for a shelter when the bombs dropped on London during WWII.   There must have been many things in his home, but this is what he loved most.  This animal with the odd-looking head probably was the one thing the boy always slept with…and it could not be left.  There seems to be an instinct to have something comforting during difficult or scary times.  Parents need to be aware of this when a child faces the unknown.

Boy holds his stuffed animal after bombing of London in WWII

A little girl sits on the edge of a fallen beam. She too is in London facing the fears of war. She holds close her doll.   That doll had to be saved just as she did.  Call it her female instinct to mother her baby…or just something of comfort and  assurance.  She may be whispering softly, “Everything will be okay, baby.  Mother says the bombs have stopped!  Mother always knows.”

girl and doll in wwii bombing of London

Fast forward to our own generation of children.  What would be the first thing they think to hold onto during a terrifying storm or when going to bed after seeing too much on TV about the brutality facing people in the world today.    Would they hold close a cell phone, an electronic game…or their favorite stuffed animal or “Linus blanket”?

Speaking of Linus Van Pelt,  Lucy and the others from Peanuts always gave him a hard time about the blanket he dragged around with him.  Didn’t they all know…and don’t we, that “Happiness is a warm blanket”?     What we hold closest to us often gives a feeling of  security from the  problems of life.    We, as adults,  think we have lost our need for the “blanket” and try to substitute other things in our lives.  Somehow they are just not the same.

This leads us back to the holidays and our gifts that we give to our friends, neighbors, or family.   Make it something comforting…a warm pie; a bowl of soup;  cookies and milk ….or something warm and cuddly….especially for our children.girl with bearchild with animal

 


VETERANS….PAST AND PRESENT..true courage

us patch

So much has happened to our veterans since this post in 2009 when vets were waiting eagerly to visit the Washington memorials.  Many have died..or continued to linger in hospitals.  Others perished, not on the battle field, but while waiting to see a doctor stateside. Nevertheless, this is the day that we remember them…their courage, their fortitude and much more.  They are the young and the old among us who should never be forgotten.

greeting the vets(from a previous post)  Probably He had a twinkle in his eye as he waited outside the restroom in our plane.  As I opened the door, he said “I’ve cleared the decks for you!”   Laughing, I said “Well, I want to thank you for your service to our country.”   He responded that his job had been to bury thousands and thousands of men who died on foreign shores.  “This was my job.”    I looked into those bright, blue eyes of a man in his eighties and knew he had seen the horrors of war.  He had been the last to look on the torn and battered bodies of those young men who had never made it home.

Pres Bush gives hugThese veterans on our plane were being sent free of charge by Southwest Airlines  to Washington, D.C to see the memorial for these brave men.    Honor Flight Network (  www.honorflight.org   ) was their sponsor.  They raise funds to transport and house veterans to the D.C. area to view the WWII memorial. Many of them had never seen the memorial and knew their chances were getting shorter and some could not afford to go on their own.   Their decision was to go to D.C.  and to share with other WWII veterans their stories and  their lives.  The media was there to talk with them, as we waited for our flight.   We had a short service in the terminal where American flags were given out and a young man sang the National Anthem.   I noticed several things about the reactions of the people, which I hoped these veterans did not observe.   A young man sitting  across the aisle laughed at the singing of the anthem.  Many, however, gave an applause as the veterans entered in wheelchairs and with canes.   Most regretful of all was once we were on our plane, one woman, perhaps in her 50’s, was complaining to everyone that she had to sit behind the group.  She made a statement  “We have  paid for our flight.”    My statement to her is that these men paid much more in suffering, years away from home, and the sadness they had endured in war.   I liked what one of the volunteers had on the back of her t-shirt.   “If you can read this, thank a teacher.   If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.”    

On board USS Juneau (CL-52) at the time of her commissioning ceremonies at the New York Navy Yard, 14 February 1942.

On board USS Juneau (CL-52) at the time of her commissioning ceremonies at the New York Navy Yard, 14 February 1942.

   

While I was teaching 5th graders in Florida schools, one of my projects was to have  veterans and  Holocaust survivors come to the classroom and talk one on one with my students.    They heard their stories and then shared them with the rest of the class.  One of my fifth graders was wise enough to say, “My generation may be the last to speak in person to these men and women.”  

FrancesHoffman WWIIMarine

Francis Hoffman WWII

We must not forget the women who contributed so much during the war, either on the front or at home in the plants making munitions and other necessities for the war.  My mother, who is now 92, worked in one of these plants.  A newspaper clipping is special to us, showing her listening to the radio and hearing that  “Japan Surrenders”.

nancyBooks 045

WWII soldier relaxes

There used to be 16 million U.S. veterans of World War II . Now they are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 a day and number about 2.5 million according to the  Department of Veterans Affairs.  My husband, Bill, is a retired Navy Chaplain who is called on to speak at many of these burials.  Recently, he presided at a funeral for a WWII veteran who  was a POW (Prisoner of War) and had never received his Purple Heart. Unfortunately, he died two days before receiving it officially.

Yes, we are grateful for all they did.   We are glad they could see a memorial meant for them and those who died in World War II.   We will honor them always.  They are the ones called the “Greatest Generation“.    We must not forget them.    We also must not forget that there are very young men and women who have given so much of their lives on recent war fronts. 

Yes, this WWII vet  had a twinkle in his eyes  and a smile on his face, as we talked on the plane.  May he always keep this wonderful joy for living.  He is a special person.Obama Awards 24 Medals of Honor at White House

Our brave men and women are still on the fighting front…even though we are told they are not taking a “combat” position.  We know the truth is that once you are facing danger from a foe, the enemy does not stop to ask “Are you in combat or just advising?”.   The American people are smart enough to see through the semantics.   These active duty young people are in harms way and deserve our respect and prayers…as do all veterans.

 

In this photo taken Monday, Feb. 15, 2010, U.S. Army soldiers from 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment are seen at a ceremony launching the Combined Security Force on Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, Iraq. The U.S. military mission in Iraq will soon be getting a new name. As of Sept. 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom becomes Operation New Dawn. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a memo Wednesday that the name change will send a strong signal that American forces have a new mission, which recognizes "our evolving relationship" with the government in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

(AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

 


Remember History or RELIVE it!

As I walked through the gates of Auschwitz  with my students a few years ago, I was reminded of the famous saying that one must remember history or relive it.   This is particularly true today with the evil plots to destroy one’s neighbor from within or without.   My fellow blogger, Stephen Liddell in England, reminded his countrymen that there is  at least one great reason to get out and vote in their General Election.   This picture tells that reason.  We here in America should be taking as seriously our own future elections.

In England,  888,246 poppies were laid  to remember each of the WW1 dead.  (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Defence.)

In England, 888,246 poppies were laid to remember each of the WW1 dead.
(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Defense.)

 

Voters, here in America and those abroad, were not living during WWI and many were not living during WWII, but that does not mean we can not take our lessons from history.   The battles may be different, but they are battles just the same.   Complacency may be the road to slavery or death.  No one likes to think of it, but it is the truth just the same.  A strong nation will defend itself.  A strong people will not  turn a blind eye to the past…especially when one is threatened with evil and destruction.

I would say to our friends in America and worldwide, teach history to your young people.  When surveyed, they seem to not know even basic facts of the sacrifices of their grandparents during times of crisis.    They are the future voters and the inheritance of whom we choose now as leaders in the world.

I am writing this on May 7.  How many people would know some of the events of history that happened on this one day alone…May 7th?    These events changed history and the lives of people, but are they remembered?  Multiply this one day by all the days of the calendar year.

  • 1727 – Jews are expelled from Ukraine by Empress Catherine I of Russia
  • 1862 – Battle of West Point, VA (Eltham’s Landing, Barnhamsville)
  • 1913 – British House of Commons rejects women’s right to vote
  • 1915 – SS Lusitania sunk by German submarine; 1198 lives lost
  • 1939 – Germany & Italy announced an alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis
  • 1942 – Nazi decree orders all Jewish pregnant women of Kovno Ghetto executed
  • 1943 – Dutch men 18-35 obliged to report to labor camps
  • 1945 – WWII: unconditional German surrender to the Allies signed by General Alfred Jodl at Rheims
  • 1947 – General MacArthur approves Japanese constitution
  • 1954 – French surrender to Vietminh after 55-day siege at Dien Bien Phu
  • 1960 – USSR announces Francis Gary Powers confessed to being a CIA spy
  • 1975 – Pres Ford declares an end to “Vietnam Era”
  • 1980 –  Iraq bombs a Tehran oil refiner
  • 1982 – US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1999 – Kosovo War: In Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens are killed and 20 wounded when a NATO aircraft bombs the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
  • 2013 – 55 people are killed by a Boko Haram attack in Nigeria

Then there was September 11, 2001.    President Bush and the brave first responders… men and women of N.Y. City step forward as in Washington and Pennsylvania.  Leadership was everything!

The importance of leadership cannot be over-estimated.    What would England have done without Sir Winston Churchill during the crisis of WWII?    Leaders have to have vision larger than themselves and their political careers.  They must have a vision for what is right and what cannot be tolerated. Thank you, Stephen, for reminding us of the importance of never forgetting when making choices.

Not on May 7th, but in 1962 was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Leaders could not stand by for they had been elected to protect us …and they acted.  Regardless of what party Americans belong, Democrat or Republican, the leadership of a President and the elected leaders makes a difference. Perhaps these thoughts are best said by one of our former Presidents who met his last days by an evil act. History is a warning.as well as a time of encouragement …heed it!

SEE VIDEO


70 YEARS….Lilly Jacob Zemanovic and the Auschwitz Album….Schindler’s List

This week the world has been remembering 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.  It is hard to believe even this many years later the atrocities done there to so many people. Yet, it was a reality that must never be forgotten.

A few years ago, I took  Student Ambassadors  to Eastern Europe. We saw first hand the museum of Auschwitz with the thousands of eyeglasses, shoes, luggage, and the gas chambers.  I saw the tiny areas where prisoners had to stand for hours as punishment, with no way to sit or lay down.    Near these spots were messages scratched on the walls.   I saw a cross that is now covered with plastic to protect it.    One of my students  brought an arm-full of flowers to lay at the wall where so many had been executed.

 Even as late as 2011, the news reported that the President of  Iran  still  refuses to believe that the millions of  Jews, Christians, homosexuals,  political enemies of the Nazi regime, and others  went to their death in the consecration camps of Europe.

   The Prime Minister of Israel had to  stand once again to  tell the United Nations and the world that “Yes, Israel is a Jewish state”  and has the right to exist.  Even this week, our own President is refusing to see Israel’s Prime Minister when he comes to address our Congress and the peoples of the world. He will most likely emphasize what could lay in store once again unless we bind together to not allow these horrors… whether through nuclear annihilation or through the old method of  gas chambers.

  Question:  When will this persecution end…or will it?

Now, in 2015, my husband is taking a group of people to a Holy Land pilgrimage of Jerusalem.  Some ask, “Why would you go there when there is so much unrest in the Middle East?”   It’s simple….to walk the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ…the Jew who gave himself for our salvation and to be the Messiah of all people including the Jews.

While in Jerusalem, the group will go to the memorial garden at Yad Vashem,  This is the remembrance of all  non-Jews  (Righteous Gentiles) who risked everything to hide Jewish neighbors and friends from deportation.   Oskar Schindler (see movie trailer below on Schindler’s List) and others  are named there.   These non-Jews are among the more than 21,000 who by 2006 have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.   One of these was Father Pierre-Marie Benoit of France.   His monastary was busy all the time with people trying to flee certain death.  His printing presses ran full steam putting out new Baptism Certificates and false Christian names for Jews to be able to survive.   In 1966, he was honored on the Walk of the Righteous.      (To read more….Tribute to Father Benoit)     Christians and some Muslim people helped  hide the Jews.  This is not widely known.   The Christian group going on this pilgrimage will see the memorial stone for Oscar Schindler, a German businessman, who saved so many.  Today there are more than 7,000 descendants of the Schindler-Jews living in US and Europe, many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are fewer than  3,000 and 4,000 left.

Holocaust Survivor Lilly Jacob

This is the picture of  Lilly Jacob Zelmanovic Meier, who died in 1999 in Miami, Florida.     When the troops arrived to rescue the survivors,  she found  pictures that are now known as the Auschwitz Album.   It is now in Yad Vashem in Israel.

This is Lilly’s story.  (Taken from the introduction of the “Auschwitz Album” shown below.

“18-year-old Lilly Jacob was deported with her family, and most of the Jews of Hungary, in the spring of 1944. On the ramp at Auschwitz she was brutally separated from her parents and younger brothers; she never saw any of them again. She was lucky and survived; yet, she was not always convinced of the blessing of having survived totally alone, bereft of family, friends and her world.

Unlike all the other survivors, she was granted a small miracle. On the day of her liberation, in the Dora concentration camp hundreds of miles from Auschwitz, she found in the deserted SS barracks a photo album. It contained, among others, pictures of her family and friends as they arrived on the ramp and unknowingly awaited their death. It was a unique tie to what once had been, could never return, and could never be rebuilt.    

It was also, as we now know, the only photographic evidence of Jews arriving in Auschwitz or any other death camp.  

After the war Lilly found and married Max Zelmanovic, a prewar acquaintance. Selling glass-plate prints of the album to the Jewish Museum in Prague enabled the couple and their first-born daughter, Esther, to immigrate to the United States. They settled in Miami and raised a family, yet the album continued to be central to their lives. Survivors spread the word of a unique album in the possession of a waitress in Miami, and they made their way across the country to seek her out, and to hope against hope that their lost family, like hers, might be engraved on its prints. Not a week would go by but Lilly would bring home strangers who were not strangers, and they would pour over the pictures and weep.

Rarely, someone would identify a family member, and Lilly would give them the snapshot. Since most of the Jews had been murdered, leaving no living trace, most of the photos remained unclaimed.  

In 1980 Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lilly  that the album should be safeguarded at Yad Vashem. She came to Jerusalem, showed it to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and donated it to Yad Vashem, where it resides to this day and is treasured for the future.” 

If we turn our eyes away to things that are unjust, we definitely will repeat history. 

———————-

The music written for Schindler’s List  always brings tears to my eyes as I sit down to play it on the piano.  It certainly must have been inspired through the talents of John Williams.  Please listen for this music as you view the trailer on the movie, Schindler’s List below.  Turn up sound.

 


Think your days are “rotten”…think again!

Princeton students snowball fight 1893

Feeling a little beaten up?  Things aren’t going right at all?   In fact, you think things are just rotten!

Maybe your holidays were good, but not as good as they could have been.   How often we think of “only what if”!   Some of you may even be saying that there were just too many people at my house at Christmas; someone I love did not show up…or even call;  there was just not enough time to do what I wanted to do; or worried about what 2015 will hold for you…so on and so on.

You think your days are rotten and you’d like to just go down to the local bar and forget it all like Hemingway.  Unfortunately, we remember how his life ended.

Hemmingway at bar

Well, sister or brother…you probably don’t have anything to complain about. I thought I’d show you some rare photographs sent to me by a friend. Let’s take a journey to the past when rotten was really rotten!

Most likely you were not hiding in a cave like this woman in WWII

Most likely you were not hiding in a cave like this woman in WWII

You might be in a war zone, but you have not just survived a bomb like the one dropped on Nagasaki.

You might be in a war zone, but you have not just survived a bomb like the one dropped on Nagasaki.  This woman was even able to smile in the midst of all the devastation.

You are not about to be assassinated like Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife which led to WWI

You are not about to be assassinated like Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife which led to WWI

Most likely your entire family was not murdered like the Russian Romanovs shown here from left to right: Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana. Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913

Most likely your entire family was not murdered like the Romanovs shown here from left to right: Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana. Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913

You are not hiding like Anne Frank and her family  during WWII

You are not hiding like Anne Frank and her family during WWII

You may be a nurse caring for babies and children but not trying to save them from gas warfare like these nurses of WWII

You may be a nurse caring for babies and children but not trying to save them from gas warfare like these nurses of WWII

You are not a 106 year Armenian woman protecting her home with an AK 47

You are not a 106 year Armenian woman protecting her home with an AK 47

Cheer up…yes, there is terrorism in the world. Terrible things happen but do not forget the brave of the past who can encourage us with their lives. In the time of trouble, people used their talents and showed us the way! They stepped up to the plate…did not feel sorry for themselves…but moved on for what was best for themselves, fellow citizens, and their country.

Young Winston Churchill prepared to lead.

Young Winston Churchill prepared to lead.

As an older Winston, he rode through France and took a light from a ordinary citizen

As an older Winston, he rode through France and took a light from an ordinary citizen because victory had been won!

Royalty and Heads of State took up their positions to serve and lead as Queen Elizabeth in WWII

Royalty and Heads of State took up their positions to serve and lead as Queen Elizabeth in WWII

Business men helped the economy and forged the future like William Harley and Arthur Davidson known today as the famous Harley motorcycles ridden by millions.

Business men helped the economy and forged the future like William Harley and Arthur Davidson known today as the famous Harley motorcycles ridden by millions.

Construction of our infrastructure moved on like the building of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 after WWI.

Construction of our infrastructure moved on like the building of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 after WWI.

We honored our Leaders at Mt. Rushmore who brought us through with their profound abilities.

We honored our Leaders at Mt. Rushmore who brought us through with their profound abilities.

The brilliant minds continued to think as Albert Einstein and Niels  Bohr.

The brilliant minds continued to reach into the future as did  Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

Yes, in the midst of the worst...they were defiant as this man on the worst day of his life!

Yes,  in the midst of the worst…they were defiant as this man on the worst day of his life!

Go outside…feel the sun…pick a flower…tell someone you love them. Your day does not have to be rotten. Keep things in perspective and “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Post note:  After this post, a reader wrote me this comment after she, a music teacher in a rural school,  had received some unhappy news from her employer.

…  Minutes before choir, the principal told me my request had been denied. It upset me, and being frustrated, I asked the 8th grade boy beside me, as we were walking to class, if he had ever had a bad day?  He said, ” Not really, oh yes, I did:  The day my sister shot me in the eye with a BB gun, and my Mom left us!!! ”  Instantly humbled,  I realized ‘What a bad day was!’ 
Again I say, “Keep things in perspective.

Boyer Writes Begins a New Year of Writing…the Annual Report

It is our pleasure at Boyer Writes to share with you a portion of our Annual Report sent to us from WordPress for 2014:

“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it”.     Readers from 126 countries around the world viewed our site.  We are fortunate to have readers like Stephen Liddell in England and Larry Gingery in Ukraine who write comments and share thoughts and encouragement.    Thanks, Stephen and Larry and over 100 people following Boyer Writes.   These years of writing have been some of my happiest and you will continue to hear from us as we are inspired in the areas of The Arts, History, Inspiration and much more.

In 2014, we wrote 106 new posts, growing our total archive for Boyer Writes  to 468 posts.

Our most read writing had to do with a mystery about World War II.

WHAT HAPPENED TO SS. GENERAL HANS KAMMLER?

SPECIAL NOTE by the author:   This blog has received the most hits world-wide than any of my other blogs, which may say something about the fascination that people have for history and the unknown facts of history.  People have commented that their relatives were somehow connected with General Hans Kammler, but can not prove such claims. Readers have argued back and forth concerning their claims…as I receive an email each time they comment.  What it matters all in all this many years later is probably of little consequence in that most of the criminals of the Nazi era are dying off even if they did escape the punishments that may have been due them. Regardless, the speculation goes on….and readers enjoy the mystery.  Thanks for reading and wondering. )  

This year, 2015, I plan to continue writing my historical fiction  using this interest in General Hans Kammler as a background for my book.  You will be the first to know when it is published.

Blessings to all and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2015 New Year

 

To Read the post on General Hans Kammler (and reader responses to the mystery)


The Sullivans…”Sticking together” in the Agony of War

 

On board USS Juneau (CL-52) at the time of her commissioning ceremonies at the New York Navy Yard, 14 February 1942.

On board USS Juneau (CL-52)  New York Navy Yard, 1942.

 

Two ships have been named after the Sullivan brothers because of the terrible loss of all five brothers who joined up together to fight in World War II :  (Sullivans (DD 537), commissioned in 1943 and the USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) was commissioned in September 1993.)

The brothers are shown in the picture at left: Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George Sullivan.    All men from Waterloo, Iowa were serving on the same ship that went down  following the 13 November 1942 Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

It was later learned, through survivors’ accounts, that four of the brothers died in the initial explosion. The fifth, George Thomas, despite being wounded the night before, made it onto a raft where he survived for five days before succumbing either to wounds and exhaustion or a shark attack.

The brothers received the Purple Heart Medal posthumously and were entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars and the World War II Victory Medal. They had also earned the Good Conduct Medal.

One can only imagine the grief felt by their family members.   Their parents were Mr. Thomas F. Sullivan and Mrs. Alleta Sullivan.  Mr. Sullivan was a brakeman on the Illinois Central Railroad. They were your typical Irish Catholic family.  Their family motto was “We stick together” .  That was what made them ask permission to serve together on the doomed ship. 
 
The brothers had one sister, Genevieve Sullivan who was close to her brothers.

The last of the Sullivan children, Genevieve Sullivan joins the Waves in 1943.

The last of the Sullivan children, Genevieve Sullivan joins the Waves in 1943.

Albert Leo Sullivan’s wife, Katherine Mary Sullivan had a son named James Thomas, who was  twenty-two months old at the time of his father’s death. James Sullivan, later joined the Navy and served on the ship named for his father and uncles.   His daughter is shown in the picture below.

 

 Kelly Sullivan Loughren is the granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan, the youngest of the five Sullivan brothers who lost their lives together aboard USS Juneau during World War II.  She is a teacher.

Kelly Sullivan Loughren is the granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan, the youngest of the five Sullivan brothers who lost their lives together aboard USS Juneau during World War II. She is a teacher.

Following the loss of their sons, Thomas and Alleta  toured the United States. They spoke in plants, ship yards, and public events to help support the war effort. Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a Ship to be named “The Sullivans” and in 4, April 1943, The Fletcher Class Destroyer, USS The Sullivans launched with Alleta attending the event.

USS The Sullivans DD-537)

USS The Sullivans DD-537

USS The Sullivans DDG-68

USS The Sullivans DDG-68

Directed by Lloyd Bacon Produced bySam Jaffe Robert Kane

Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Produced by Sam Jaffe
Robert Kane

A movie was made of the story of these brave men and the grief, dedication and sacrifice of this Irish family.  Five head stones are placed in their memory at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Guidelines in part from the Navy Personnel:

” …In the Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin for July, 1942, it was stated that the Bureau considered it to be in the interest of their families that brothers not be put on the same ships in wartime, and added that “in view of the above, commanding officers will not forward requests for brothers to serve in the same ship or station.” Other than the foregoing announcements, no policies were put forth on the subject. The question of the advisability of coercive action to force the separation of brothers was considered, especially after the death of the five Sullivan brothers as a result of the sinking of the U.S.S. Juneau on 13 November 1942. However, no such action was taken.

On 15 November 1944 Bureau Circular Letter 345-44 was issued. It stated that in case a family had lost two or more sons in the armed forces and had only one surviving son, consideration would be given to application either by the family or the surviving son for the latter’s retention in the United States, unless he was engaged in non-hazardous duties overseas. On 14 April 1945 Bureau Circular Letter 107-45 broadened the rule to provide that if two or more members of the family had been lost consideration would be given to the return to the United States of all remaining members of the family….”

 

A VIDEO TRIBUTE TO THE FIVE SULLIVANS


Saved by Music…Alice Herz Sommer..a testament to the human spirit

Pianist Alice Hertz

Pianist Alice Hertz

This month I will be hosting a luncheon and the theme is music.  Music is definitely a “speaker to the soul”.  It reminded me of a previous blog, that you may have missed, concerning Alice Herz Sommer. She gives her views on optimism rather than hate; the great composers; and laughter.  She is truly a testament to the human spirit.  I felt it was worth remembering again.

What was so special about Alice was not only that she was a gifted musician, but that she used the talents that she had to save her own life and possibly lives of others during World War II. Living to be an inspiration to all for many years, Alice’s story is a repeat for this Sunday morning.

While in a concentration camp, Alice was ordered to play.   However, she knew that if she did not please those who heard, she and her young son would die as so many other thousands had done, including her mother.  She had already been ordered to leave her mother, who was sick, with the Nazi keepers.  It was certain that she would never see her again as the elderly and sick were sorted out for the gas chambers.    She said it was “the lowest point of her life”.

A woman of optimism and the ability to laugh also helped her through those terrible ordeals.  Who would have ever believed that Alice Herz-Sommer would live to be 110.   Before her death, she was considered the oldest Holocaust survivor.  She found her way to Israel after the war was over and then back to England, where her son also became a musician.

During her imprisonment in Czechoslovakia, she began to study Chopin’s Etudes, which include 27 solo pieces.  The music was the thing that gave her joy.

Alice Hertz Sommer Oldest Holocaust survivor

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Video below:


70th Anniversary of D-Day

Thanks for all your information about D-Day, Stephen.   I am glad to share your writing with my readers.   It is time to fly our flags and remember the brave men and women during those years.   The picture of the Fly-Over was quite impressive.fly over in France D-Day

Stephen Liddell

This time 70 years ago on 6th June 1944, the world held its breath as the largest amphibious military operation even seen was under way.  Operation Overlord was the long-awaited Allied invasion of Nazi held Europe that would lead to the liberation of mainland Europe and 70 years of freedom and democracy.

D-Day was never going to be easy.  Germany had spent years fortifying defences along the coast from the Spanish border in the south to the top of Norway in the north.   The defences were lined with artillery and machine gun nests and most of the beaches were either mined or covered with row after row of barbed wire and anti-ship and anti-tank defences.

At various times the American President thought it was madness, Churchill that it was crazy and better to invade from Portugal and Eisenhower so unconvinced that he had already written a letter explaining its failure.

View original post 3,024 more words


Secret Documents Revealed…..concerning WWII

Few here in the U.S.A. have flown their flags today as it is not the 4th of July or Veterans Day.   It is V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) that should be recognized everywhere in the USA,  in Europe and even the world. As we know, the war in Europe had to be won and the Nazi aggression stopped.  There were plans, however, that many people do not know about concerning Japan.  The free world and especially the democratic Japan, that we know today, would look totally different if  the war efforts against Japan had been changed even slightly.  Victory in Europe was not enough since Japan had entered the war and had their own plans and goals against us. Below is an article written about the secret documents that are now declassified…and we know now what could have happened, but did not.  Millions more could have died had World War II not been completely won on every front.

When I was privileged, as an educator, to go to Japan at the invitation of the present Japanese government, I was taken to one of the many caves used by the military and civilians during the war. This invitation was given to select American teachers as a “thank you” for the reconstruction of Japan after the war ended.

Boyer Writes would like to  share this article about the top-secret documents, written by Colonel Buz Kimenis:

Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington , D.C. , hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped “Top Secret”. These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II. Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of these elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire. In the first invasion – code named “Operation Olympic“- American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 – 61 years ago.

Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment. The second invasion on March 1, 1946 – code named “Operation Coronet”- would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. Its goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan. With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8th Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe ), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force. More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 – would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults. Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy.

Kamikazi pilots being briefed

Kamikaze pilots being briefed

  Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the fall of 1946. Willoughby ‘s own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate. During the summer of 1945, America had little time to prepare for such an endeavor, but top military leaders were in almost unanimous agreement that an invasion was necessary. While naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered to be useful, General MacArthur, for instance, did not believe a blockade would bring about an unconditional surrender. The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill; and though strategic bombing might destroy cities, it leaves whole armies intact. So on May 25, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after extensive deliberation, issued to General MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army Air Force General Henry Arnold, the top-secret directive to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu. The target date was after the typhoon season.Unit of Kamikaze pilots

President Truman approved the plans for the invasions July 24. Two days later, the United Nations issued the Potsdam Proclamation, which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction. Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender. During this same period it was learned — via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts — that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its school children, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses. Operation Olympic called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu . Its purpose was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, to tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, to destroy units of the main Japanese army and to support the later invasion of the Tokyo Plain. The preliminary invasion would begin October 27 when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu . At the same time, the 158th Regimental Combat Team would invade and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu. On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet, to serve as fighter direction centers for the carrier-based aircraft and to provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of the invasion. As the invasion grew imminent, the massive firepower of the Navy – the Third and Fifth Fleets — would approach Japan.

The Third Fleet, under Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, with its big guns and naval aircraft, would provide strategic support for the operation against Honshu and Hokkaido. Halsey’s fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier task groups. From these carriers, hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu. The 3,000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Raymond Spruance, would carry the invasion troops.burning planes on ship Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas. They would not cease the bombardment until after the land forces had been launched. During the early morning hours of November 1, the invasion would begin. Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southeastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu . Waves of Helldivers, Dauntless dive bombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from 66 aircraft carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun emplacements and troop concentrations along the beaches. The Eastern Assault Force consisting of the 25th, 33rd, and 41st Infantry Divisions, would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford, and move inland to attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield.

The Southern Assault Force, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 43rd Division and Americal Division would land inside Ariake Bay at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenberg, Essex, Ford, and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield. On the western shore of Kyushu, at beaches Pontiac, Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz, Winston and Zephyr, the V Amphibious Corps would land the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima. On November 4, the Reserve Force, consisting of the 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, after feigning an attack on the island of Shikoku, would be landed — if not needed elsewhere – near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay, at the beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard, and Plymouth. Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well. It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with the three fresh American divisions per month to be landed in support of that operation if needed. If all went well with Olympic, Coronet would be launched March 1, 1946. Coronet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu.

All along the coast east of Tokyo , the American 1st Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions, along with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions. At Sagami Bay, just south of Tokyo, the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay and attempt to go as far as Yokohama. The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 37th, 38th, and 8th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions. Following the initial assault, eight more divisions – the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th, and 104th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division — would be landed. If additional troops were needed, as expected, other divisions redeployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push. -Pearl-Harbor

Captured Japanese documents and post war interrogations of Japanese military leaders disclose that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands was dangerously in error. During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese Kamikaze aircraft sank 32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others. But during the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan. What the military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland. As part of Ketsu-Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan — the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases. On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers, 100 former carrier aircraft and 50 land based army planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet. The Japanese had 58 more airfields in Korea, western Honshu and Shikoku, which also were to be used for massive suicide attacks. Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2,500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks. In August 1945, however, unknown to Allied intelligence, the Japanese still had 5,651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12,725 planes of all types.

Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes. Additionally, the Japanese were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket-propelled bomb much like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot. When the invasion became imminent, Ketsu-Go called for a four-fold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships. While Allied ships were approaching Japan, but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over Kyushu. A second force of 330 navy combat pilots was to attack the main body of the task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover to protect the troop carrying transports. ship hit by kamikaze sucicide pilotsWhile these two forces were engaged, a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports. As the invasion convoys approached their anchorages, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks.

By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the American land-based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense against the suicide planes to the carrier pilots and the shipboard gunners. Carrier pilots crippled by fatigue would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel. Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce. Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still the waves of kamikaze would continue. With the fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining Japanese aircraft would be committed to nonstop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days. The Japanese planned to coordinate their air strikes with attacks from the 40 remaining submarines from the Imperial Navy – some armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles — when the invasion fleet was 180 miles off Kyushu. The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers which were operational. These ships were to be used to counterattack the American invasion. A number of the destroyers were to be beached at the last-minute to be used as anti-invasion gun platforms.

Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea. Japan had established a suicide naval attack unit of midget submarines, human torpedoes and exploding motorboats. The goal of the Japanese was to shatter the invasion before the landing. The Japanese were convinced the Americans would back off or become so demoralized that they would then accept a less-than-unconditional surrender and a more honorable and face-saving end for the Japanese. But as horrible as the battle of Japan would be off the beaches, it would be on Japanese soil that the American forces would face the most rugged and fanatical defense encountered during the war. Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always outnumbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1. In Japan it would be different. JapaneseMilitaryWWII By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan ‘s top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces. Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops. On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans.

This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns. The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army . These troops were well-fed and well equipped. They were familiar with the terrain,had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air. Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit. Japan’s network of beach defenses consisted of offshore mines, thousands of suicide scuba divers attacking landing craft, and mines planted on the beaches. Coming ashore, the American Eastern amphibious assault forces at Miyazaki would face three Japanese divisions, and two others poised for counterattack.

Awaiting the Southeastern attack force at Ariake Bay was an entire division and at least one mixed infantry brigade. On the western shores of Kyushu, the Marines would face the most brutal opposition. Along the invasion beaches would be the three Japanese divisions, a tank brigade, a mixed infantry brigade and an artillery command. Components of two divisions would also be poised to launch counterattacks. If not needed to reinforce the primary landing beaches, the American Reserve Force would be landed at the base of Kagoshima Bay November 4, where they would be confronted by two mixed infantry brigades, parts of two infantry divisions and thousands of naval troops.

Caves and bunkers were throughout Japan

Caves and bunkers were throughout Japan

All along the invasion beaches, American troops would face coastal batteries, anti-landing obstacles and a network of heavily fortified pillboxes, bunkers, and underground fortresses. As Americans waded ashore, they would face intense artillery and mortar fire as they worked their way through concrete rubble and barbed-wire entanglements arranged to funnel them into the muzzles of these Japanese guns. On the beaches and beyond would be hundreds of Japanese machine gun positions, beach mines, booby traps, trip-wire mines and sniper units.

Suicide units concealed in “spider holes” would engage the troops as they passed nearby. In the heat of battle, Japanese infiltration units would be sent to reap havoc in the American lines by cutting phone and communication lines. Some of the Japanese troops would be in American uniform; English-speaking Japanese officers were assigned to break in on American radio traffic to call off artillery fire, to order retreats and to further confuse troops. Japanese-Troops-Bataan-1942 Other infiltration with demolition charges strapped on their chests or backs would attempt to blow up American tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition stores as they were unloaded ashore. Beyond the beaches were large artillery pieces situated to bring down a curtain of fire on the beach. Some of these large guns were mounted on railroad tracks running in and out of caves protected by concrete and steel.

The battle for Japan would be won by what Simon Bolivar Buckner, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army during the Civil War, had called “Prairie Dog Warfare.” This type of fighting was almost unknown to the ground troops in Europe and the Mediterranean . It was peculiar only to the soldiers and Marines who fought the Japanese on islands all over the Pacific — at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Prairie Dog Warfare was a battle for yards, feet and sometimes inches. It was brutal, deadly and dangerous form of combat aimed at an underground, heavily fortified, non-retreating enemy. In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits. Some of these complexes could hold up to 1,000 troops.

In addition to the use of poison gas and bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry. Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan – “One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation” – were prepared to fight to the death. Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force. They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars. Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears. The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions. At the early stage of the invasion, 1,000 Japanese and American soldiers would be dying every hour. The invasion of Japan never became a reality because on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima.

Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Within days the war with Japan was at a close. Had these bombs not been dropped and had the invasion been launched as scheduled, combat casualties in Japan would have been at a minimum of the tens of thousands. Every foot of Japanese soil would have been paid for by Japanese and American lives. One can only guess at how many civilians would have committed suicide in their homes or in futile mass military attacks. In retrospect, the 1 million American men who were to be the casualties of the invasion were instead lucky enough to survive the war. Intelligence studies and military estimates made 50 years ago, and not latter-day speculation, clearly indicate that the battle for Japan might well have resulted in the biggest blood-bath in the history of modern warfare.

The Atomic bomb is dropped on Japan

The Atomic bomb is dropped on Japan

  Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture. When the invasion came, it would have come after several months of fire bombing all of the remaining Japanese cities. The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic blasts would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this aerial devastation.

With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan , little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands. Japan today could be divided much like Korea and Germany. The world was spared the cost of Operation Downfall, however, because Japan formally surrendered to the United Nations September 2, 1945, and World War II was over. After bombingThe aircraft carriers, cruisers and transport ships scheduled to carry the invasion troops to Japan , ferried home American troops in a gigantic operation called Magic Carpet. In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of the war, few people concerned themselves with the invasion plans.

Following the surrender, the classified documents, maps, diagrams and appendices for Operation Downfall were packed away in boxes and eventually stored at the National Archives. These plans that called for the invasion of Japan paint a vivid description of what might have been one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of man. The fact that the story of the invasion of Japan is locked up in the National Archives and is not told in our history books is something for which all Americans can be thankful…”  

John Keller served on the U.S.S. Chilton, an attack transport ship for the Navy during WWII. Keller's ship was hit by a Japanese kamikaze during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

John Keller served on the U.S.S. Chilton, an attack transport ship for the Navy during WWII. Keller’s ship was hit by a Japanese kamikaze during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

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For Lent: “Hope…when there appears to be no Hope”

If we asked ten people what is meant by the word, “Hope”, we would probably get ten answers.  It seems illusive….something that we can’t get a handle on…but we still hope. Norman Fried writes about hope and concludes, ” Through hope we discover faith and the pursuit of redemption. Hope sets us on a path toward attaining our goals; it helps us determine strategies for living and it transforms our will into action. And when all hope seems lost, faith asks us to look inward and to think differently. Faith teaches us to look for new ways to live in a life filled with pain. It guides us to develop new pursuits; to achieve new victories. And through our pursuits, we encounter God’s ways and we are challenged to unite with Him; only to find ourselves cleaving to both. In the end, we learn that religion is the confluence of two parallel forces; man’s wish to create a livable world, replete with the hope of grace and dignity, and man’s need to honor and accept what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.” Some words that he uses stand out to me.

  • “…pursuit of redemption”    In the long run, we all want to be redeemed.  We look for an eternity of bliss with an eternally loving God.  Redemption, however, is the moment we put our trust in the Savior.  Redemption does not just start in the future, but is a daily existence.  God sent His only Son to redeem the world.
  • “…determine strategies for living”    Hope is all important to the very way we live. None of us want to come to the end and be filled with regrets.
  • “…challenged to unite with Him”     Many things are important to us: family career, dreams and goals.   Perhaps the most important thing that we can hope for is to feel His presence with us moment by moment.  In this season of Lent, we ask God for that presence and to be united with Him.
  • what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.”    We look at the tragedies of the world, past and present, and wonder how people did live through the unlivable.  Truly it was the ability to hope even through harsh struggles.

Job spent hours listening to his friends who brought no comfort.   I wonder at this patience!    (Through most of the Book of Job)     Yet, this man of faith continued to believe in the one strength he had and the hope that he knew to be God’s gift to him during a terrible time of his life Even in more modern times, history tells stories of hope under the worst conditions. One such battle of WWII would appear that there was no hope.  “The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest battle on the Eastern Front and was marked by brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare,  with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army made it a turning point in the war. After the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces never recovered their earlier strength, and attained no further strategic victories in the East.” The film, Enemy at the Gates, has some dialog between Nikita Khrushchevand Danilov, the soldier who believed that if they published fliers for the Russian people to read about  heros of the motherland, it would bring hope. In particular, he wrote of the Russian marksman, Vassili Zaitsev, who became the center of the writings.   Danilov told Khrushchev the following: Here, the men’s only choice is between German bullets and ours. But there’s another way. The way of courage. The way of love of the Motherland. We must publish the army newspaper again. We must tell magnificent stories, stories that extol sacrifice, bravery. We must make them believe in the victory. We must give them hope, pride, a desire to fight.” Without hope, men have little for which to live.  Regardless of the country from which one comes, the politics of the time, or the belief system that they hold, the human race must have hope.    It is not enough to use the word, but to actually believe in a hope that is greater than our understanding.   The video below is  in honor of all who had hope where there appeared to be no hope. Omer Meir Wellber and Russian National Orchestra. Pietro Mascagni – Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana”. ( A response from my friend, Mark.   Thanks.   Romans 12:12 from the Holy Scriptures: “Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in AFFLICTION and faithful in PRAYER.”)


ADVENTURES of C.S. Lewis- The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

Love an adventure?  It has been our privilege to visit  England,”the land of C.S. Lewis”, who was not only a great Christian scholar and author…but a man with enormous imagination.

Many people  find the adventures of the Narnia Tales an escape from the world of political squabbling  and the horrors in the world.

Nothing is truly new in history…whether real or imaginary. Lewis knew that the battle between good and evil continues!    We have been forced to endure the same battle when it comes to allowing WWII veterans to see their memorial or giving some continued help to the families of fallen heroes…a number who are arriving home to their final resting place today.   Maybe an adventure can help those who are “madder than hell” about the recent events and totally sick of it all. 

 

Lewis with his wife, Joy.

Lewis with his wife, Joy.  Their personal story is told in the movie, “Shadow Lands”.

Previous blogs, we wrote about    “The Children on the Train”  about children sent from Germany, Austria,  and other parts of Europe to Great Britain to get away from the Nazi invasions in World War II.   The second blog was on C.S.Lewis, Christian professor at Oxford and his writings on faith and his mystical writings of the Chronicles of Narnia.  Now, we want to encourage you to read the Chronicles of Narnia or view the videos with the children in your life…or even the adults.  It may help clear your mind…for adventure can do that. 

cs lewis ch of narnia

 

One of best-loved of these chronicles isThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.  A brief summary for those who may not be familiar :   Four children are sent from their London home to the country estate of an eccentric professor to make sure of their safety during World War II. The house is very dull, except for a large, ornate wardrobe discovered by young Lucy during a game of hide-and-seek. Venturing inside of it in the hopes of finding a hiding place, Lucy is transported to a snowy alternate universe: a magical world called Narnia.   Here the adventure begins!


JUSTICE…May NOT be this side of the grave!

László Csizsik-Csatáry

László Csizsik-Csatá

Someone died this week, August 10, 2013, who should have died much sooner.  Laszlo Csatary  was 98 when he passed away in Poland, waiting for a trial that never came.

Csatary had lived in the West  since WWII…even ran an art gallery in Canada, where he had become a citizen until Canada got wind of his connections to the Holocaust.  Interesting that he fled back to Poland where his war crimes had been committed. Later he was arrested in Hungary.  There were many ghosts to meet him there…some still living after torturous conditions in the camps.

According to an AP writing,Holocaust survivor Edita Salamonova, whose family was killed in the Auschwitz death camp after their deportation from Kosice, said she remembered Csatary well.  “I can see him in front of me,” Salamonova said. “A tall, handsome man but with a heart of stone.”Salamonova remembered Csatary’s presence at the brick factory… and would make sure to keep out of his sight when he was around.”

nazi death camps women

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“Hungarian authorities said Csatary was the chief of an internment camp set up in a brick factory for around 12,000 Jews in Kosice — a Slovak city then part of Hungary — in 1944, beating them with his bare hands and a dog whip regularly and without reason. He had also been charged with “actively participating” in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps….On  June 2, 1944, Csatary rejected a request by one of the deportees to allow a ventilation hole to be cut into the wall of a railroad car on its way to a death camp and crammed with around 80 people.”Nazi War Criminal  Laszlo Csatary3

We would like to know that all war criminals had  their lives cut short by a swift justice that was handed down to them by high courts.  That is, unfortunately, not the case.  We are told by Efraim Zuroff, one of the last Nazi hunters and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem Office, that they were  “deeply disappointed” in Csatary’s death ahead of his possible trial in Hungary…“It is a shame that Csatary, a convicted … and totally unrepentant Holocaust perpetrator who was finally indicted in his homeland for his crimes, ultimately eluded justice and punishment at the very last-minute,” Zuroff said in a statement.

Csatáry tries to hide his face.

Csatáry tries to hide his face.

We would question whether Csatary truly eluded justice and punishment …..for his day is coming.   No earthly court sentenced him to a  shorter life when it should have, but his secret hours and sleep may have been one of nightmares and torment…for the “wicked have no rest”.   The Great Court and Judgment Day is Coming from which he and no other person will escape.  Many people do not want to consider this part of the Word of God because it is not comfortable to consider.  Nevertheless, if we are to believe even one word of the the Scriptures as truth, we cannot dismiss this part.  The other side of the grave will have much more than we can imagine.

The New and Old Testament Holy Scriptures tell us the following…let those who have ears to hear…hear….

Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Ezekiel38:17-23   “Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them?  But on that day, the day that Gog (may refer to most of the middle eastern countries surrounding Israel) shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger.  For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.  The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground.  I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother.  With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many people who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur.  So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

We serve a just God…a merciful God to those who repent….a kind and generous God…whose patience will not endure forever.


A Short Film Winner- The Porcelain Unicorn

A friend, John O’Neil, whom my husband and I  met recently shared with me a most moving video clip that had won First Place in the “Tell it Your Way” contest out of many entries.   Having written a number of  stories in this Boyer Writes on the lives of those who lived through World War II and the Holocaust,  I felt it would be appropriate to present this story of two people and how their meeting changed their lives.

This article written in the New York Times by Stuart Elliot gives the details:

September 24, 2010, 2:30 pm
Director Selects Winner of Philips Consumer Contest
By STUART ELLIOTT

“Ridley Scott, known for directing movies like “Blade Runner” and “Gladiator,” has chosen the winner of a contest to create short films that was sponsored by Philips.

Mr. Scott picked a film called “Porcelain Unicorn” as the winner of the Tell It Your Way contest. The name, echoing the long-time Burger King slogan, “Have it your way,” underlines the nature of the contest, which is in the genre known as consumer-generated or user-generated content.

“Porcelain Unicorn,” which can be watched on YouTube, was the brainchild of an American director, Keegan Wilcox. Mr. Wilcox, a producer and director at ELA Advertising in California, wins prizes that include a week working at Ridley Scott Associates and the promotion of his short by Philips in venues that include a section of the Philips Web site.

Mr. Scott selected the short from among more than 600 entries in the contest, which was inspired by online commercials for Philips, under the title “Parallel Lines,” created by the London office of DDB Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group.

A People’s Choice Award was also presented in the contest, to a short called “Baby Time,” by a French director, Cedric Petitcollin. “Baby Time” can also be watched on YouTube.

There is also a YouTube channel devoted to the contest. The entries were winnowed to 306 semifinalists, which a panel of judges narrowed to 10 finalists. The public then voted on YouTube to select five of those 10 shorts for the final round of judging, during which Mr. Scott chose “Porcelain Unicorn” as the winner.”

VIDEO


Life’s Attitudes and Thankfulness: Alice Herz Sommer

Alice Herz Sommer

Why would someone who has lost family and spent years in a concentration camp have anything to be happy about?   How can she say that life is beautiful and music was the instrument God used to bring  Himself  into the presence of those who were suffering the most?  The beautiful smile on the cover of her book shown here would hardly tell the story nor the video at the end of this writing.
In 2010, Alice Herz-Sommer was the oldest living survivor of the Holocaust at age 107.     She came from a  German-speaking Jewish family and at age five,  Alice was a music pupil of the famous composer, Franz Zeist in Prague.  Her father  made machine parts and her mother was a concert pianist.  All perished in the death camps.  She married Leopold Sommer, the famous concert cellist who also died at Auschwitz.
When asked by many interviewers, ” What do you believe about life and what have you learned?” These are some of the things that she says about different topics:
  • Banned musicians who played concert style in her prison camp
“Whenever I knew that I had a concert, I was happy. We performed in the council hall before an audience of 150 old, hopeless, sick and hungry people. They lived for the music. It was like food to them. If they hadn’t come to hear us, they would have died long before…as we would have.”
  • Her dedication to her music and helping herself  at the “show camp…Terezin-Theresienstadt concentration camp..” set up to impress the Red Cross that all was going well in the camps and a staging post for those who would die.
“From my inner spirit came…now, you alone can help yourself…not your husband, not the doctor, not the child…at that moment I knew I had to play Frederic Chopin’s 24 etudes, which are the greatest challenge for any pianist. Like Goethe’s ‘Faust’ or Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet.’ … I practiced for hours and hours until they forced us out.”
  • Her young son, who was in the camp with her
“He took part in a performance of the children’s opers Brundibar,  staged for Red Cross officials in 1944. Soon after the show, all the children — except Raphael and one girl — were sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Of the 15,000 children in our camp,   Raphael was one of only 130 to survive.”
  • About her family
“The whole family of my husband, several members of my family, all my friends, all the friends of my family, nobody came back.”
  • On the trial of Adolf Eichmann that she attended in 1962
“I have to say that I had pity for him. I have pity for the entire German people. They are wonderful people, no worse than others. … [What they did] was a terrible thing, but was Alexander the Great any better? Evil has always existed and always will. It is part of our life.”
Liberated in 1945 by allied forces,  Alice immigrated to Israel as a music teacher; living there forty years.  She went to England to join her son, Raphael, who died of a heart attack.
  • On thankfulness and end of life
“Raphael died without pain. It is the greatest miracle and the greatest privilege in our life, to die without pain, so I am full of thankfulness.”
  • On life
“When you are pessimistic, your body behaves in an unnatural way. It is up to us whether we look at the good or the bad. When you are nice to others, they are nice to you. When you give, you receive.”
Words of wisdom from a woman who has lived more than most ever will.   Listen to her words in the video below and give thanks.
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Through a Child’s Eyes

The saying that the “soul is in the eyes” is a truth. Eyes may look tired, but if there is no light…the soul or innocence… may be dead.

I was struck recently by the eyes of a young actor in the movie, ” The Boy in the Striped Pajamas“, directed by Mark Herman and based on the novel by John Boyne.

Filmed in Budapest, Hungary by BBC films,  this movie  studies the character and innocence of two boys and the disintegration of a family torn by circumstances. One boy, played by Asa Butterfield, is the  son of a powerful German officer, who is commander  of a concentration camp. The other boy,  behind the barbed wire, is victim of the Holocaust.   It is the story of prejudice, lies and propaganda  during a terrible time in history with  unexpected results.    If you have not seen it, I would highly recommend it. The eyes tell it all.

[Click to see movie trailer]


“SAINTS OF UKRAINE”

Christian Flag in colors of Ukraine

As the Christians of the world begin a time of reflection before observing the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will take a look at Christians in Ukraine.  The Ukrainian people  lost religious freedom after WWII. It was buried in the ashes of a crippled nation; but  rose to gain faith again.    Christ and His Church has once again found a place in the lives of the Ukrainian people.  Having spent a part of a summer with the people of Kiev and Donetsk in  Ukraine,  I know first hand of their love and dedication to their Saviour. 

20th Century History:   This was a  difficult and painful period. Western Ukraine was absorbed by Poland after the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  This lasted until World War II when there were a number of changes in the country’s regimes.  Russia invaded Ukraine and then the Germans occupied it from 1941–1944.   Historians have written it like this:

“After the war, Ukraine became a part of the Soviet Union, which was the beginning of cruel persecution.  Christianity was declared illegal….It is the tragedy of the 20th Century, the epoch of terror and violence, which has most affected the development of religious life in contemporary Ukraine. Approximately 17 million people are estimated to have died a violent death in Ukraine in that century…The war on religion was the ideology of the Communist regime and no effort was spared.

 Church buildings were ruined, burnt down, profaned; priests and faithful, Orthodox, Catholic and representatives of other religions were shot, arrested and deported to the Siberian gulag; church communities were persecuted, confined to underground activities or entirely destroyed. Both the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church at the beginning of the 1930s and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in 1946 in Halychyna and in 1949 in Transcarpathia were liquidated. The Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches survived in only a handful of carefully monitored churches. Even the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church (which functioned as a state church) were limited and it furthermore suffered from infiltration by Soviet security organs. There was a progressive spiritual vacuum and a deepening demoralization of society.” 

The Underground Church:   In the 1980s, persecution of  Churches ceased. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emerged from the underground and communities of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church became active in  1989. The declaration of Ukrainian independence from Russia in 1991 paved the way for a new religious freedom in Ukraine.  The blood of the martyrs have soaked the land, but the people of Ukraine now know and love the freedom to worship.   As they look at new elections in the government and the Russian influence within the country, they must decide if these freedoms are precious and worth preserving…or will they fall back into the bondage from which they have freed themselves?   

The video below gives a history of some of  the  Martyrs of Ukraine’s Christian church. (  For best viewing and reading enlarge to full screen and turn on sound.)
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