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March 13, 2010
The Pacificsts (Part Zero)By Greyhawk
So I was a kid and it was the late sixties or early seventies and I was downstairs watching TV. Probably Saturday morning cartoons - maybe Jonny Quest, but not that horrific Japanamation Speed Racer crap. No, that came years later, when for reasons unknown to me they stopped making cool Saturday morning cartoon shows. (My older brother and sister might tell me that happened before I ever started watching them, but they're wrong - I know, and they might have said the same thing about Rock music, too.)
Maybe this Jonny Quest episode.
...but I don't think that's the original title because one of those words (I know this because later I had the record album) is one of the seven words. And if that's what I was watching I wasn't watching it in color because the TV was black and white.
Anyhow, my uncle was visiting and he saw this emblem on our TV even though it was real tiny...
...and he said that was the emblem of the "Three Diamond" company. From Japan. And I probably might or might not have told him no, it was a Mitsubishi, or maybe they used to be called that but now they were called Mitsubishi, not Three Diamonds, but I do remember him saying that the Three Diamond company was the one that made The Zero.
I knew what The Zero was. Not as well as he did, because he flew for the army in World War II in the Pacific and, and years later in the 70s (which is now longer ago than World War II was then - even though WWII was ancient history then and I remember the 70s quite well) he was still an Air Force pilot and might have been visiting us on leave from Thailand or Vietnam for all I can remember. ( I do know he was there, too - just not sure if he was then.) But to me it seemed pretty crappy to think that we could be buying TVs from the company that made the planes that were used to kill his friends back in World War II.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized it had to be a different company. There's no way we would have let the company that made the Zero stay in business after we won the war. He didn't seem too bothered by it though, or by the two VW Beetles we had - the older brother's and sister's cars. (Although the older brother's was in the garage getting worked on a lot and was a Dune Buggy - which was also cool.) And I also remember wondering if they were the same company why did Mitsubishi put that red circle on their planes and not three diamonds?
I knew about that red circle because I had seen movies where the Japs flew Zeroes right into our Navy ships - Kamikazes, they called them.
You don't forget seeing stuff like that when you see it as a kid, even in movies. I mean, the pilot just stayed right in the plane and flew it right into the ship. And I had friends whose dads had been in the Navy and served on ships like those. Like I said, no way would we let that company stay in business and sell televisions to Americans.
Funny, the stuff you remember from when you were a kid. Like I remember wondering why he wasn't upset about that Mitsubishi TV in our house, but I don't remember asking him. I just wanted to watch Jonny Quest.
Previously: The Pacificsts.
More Mudville entries on The Pacific here.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 13, 2010 8:28 AM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
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