POLITICS

Why Trump’s Military Insults Reek of Ignorance.

Proud to say my father was a “sucker” and a “loser” in World War II.

I am proud that my father was a “sucker” to join the military.

My father, Brigadier General Oscar Rialp of the Philippine Army, was a “sucker” to fight during World War II.

He fought side by side the Americans against the Imperial Japanese Army as captain in the great Battle of Bataan in 1942, where 20,000 Filipinos and 1,500 Americans died.

I am proud that my father was a “loser” for he was captured and dragged into the Death March, among the 60,000 sick, wounded, starving military prisoners and 38,000 weakened civilians that marched from Bataan to Tarlac.

Japanese soldiers randomly tortured, beat, and stabbed captives. Hundreds were massacred along the way to lighten their load. Only 54,000 survived the march.

Upon arriving in concentration camps, they were plagued with dysentery and starvation. Hundreds more died per day.

To face such battles and survive them takes a lot of courage and vigour.

It infuriates me to hear Trump speak of military men as “suckers” and “losers.”

First of all, who would like to face atrocities? They knew what they were getting themselves into. You’re right about this one, Trump.

But they joined the military anyway.

Why? To fight for YOUR freedom.

Trump would not be sitting on his red velvet cushie every morning while his orange hair is blow-dried, if not for our soldiers.

Trump would not be playing golf on green manicured lawns, nor would he be eating his caviar, if not for my father and his men.

There would be no democracy for him to squander. Or no freedom to walk around without a mask so he can “look good.” And no freedom of religion to hypocritize.

The entire country fights a war, not just the soldiers.

My father explained this to me when I was a child, (in case you don’t get it, Trump).

The military is sent to face the battles because they are the most capable ones. The president, the government, the citizens are all part of the war, but it would be ridiculous to send the mothers or untrained civilians to be in the battlefield.

Mr. President, in case you are unaware, you are fighting each and every war your military is battling out there.

So to say that people who face the enemy are “suckers,” makes you an ignorant coward.

You, as Commander-In-Chief, lead these wars.

It takes monumental courage to leave for battle.

I remember my mother was consoling an officer’s wife one early morning. Her husband was about to leave for a dangerous operation and she was inconsolable. After she left, my father expressed disappointment towards our visitor.

He said, it is very difficult to leave your family knowing you may not return whole or alive, and a crying wife makes it more difficult for him to face battle. Fear can be overwhelming. Encourage the military wives to show strength and independence instead.

Brilliance brought survival.

It takes robust physical strength and resilient mental stability to survive captivity.

My father and his best friend brilliantly befriended the Japanese soldiers driving a truck during the Death March. They traded English lessons for a short ride while their superiors were not looking.

My father taught them to say “You betcha!” as a translation for yes.

He taught them to say “I’ll be damned if I knew,” instead of “I don’t know.”

My father and his comrade chuckled beside the American soldiers as the Japanese answered their questions. A close bond formed between the “enemies.”

The Japanese soldiers snuck some rice into their pockets and swigs of water for them to survive the scorching heat and sapless fatigue. These Japanese soldiers were the main reason they survived torture.

At the concentration camp, my father would wake up amidst corpses everyday. Stiff, cold bodies brushing against his shoulders. Prisoners were weak with lack of nutrition and stricken with unceasing diarrhea.

After a few days of hanging on a string of hope, the Japanese helped my father and his best friend escape the camp. They followed them down the mountains and made them promise to keep the location of the camp a secret from the American headquarters.

My father kept his promise and headed down south through several jungles to found the guerrilla warfare, a potent winning arm of the ground force.

The Filipino soldiers were the pawns of the war. They were put in the frontlines while the Americans hid behind. While the Americans provided advanced artillery, Filipinos had to use their own Asian tactics to be successful in overcoming the Japanese soldiers.

Infiltration is the key to winning ground level battles.

“Take them by surprise,” my father would say. Americans sometimes could not tell the difference between the Japanese and the Filipinos, if not for their uniforms. Guerrilla warfare used camouflage techniques to the max. Every message was coded in their own newly-created alphabet. This contributed to the success of the war.

Calling these survivors “losers” makes Trump an ignorant fool.

If death had befallen my father, would he be a “loser?”

My father was shot, once, in the navel as he warded off the enemy. He was thrown across the room. His battalion soldiers were surprised to see him bounce up and throw his belt away. The bullet had hit his belt buckle, burning his abdomen. But he was alive. Miraculously.

Had he died, he would have died saving his fellowmen.

My father careened through his career to become a war hero, loving the battlefield more than the administrative assignments. (He was assigned a position as Deputy Chief of Staff with the promise of being the next Chief of Staff, but turned it down.)

He was a brilliant strategist, a fearless fighter, and the opposition’s worst enemy.

All military men deserve recognition and respect.

The life of my father taught me how to muster strength, resilience and determination. He taught me the values of integrity, valour, and dedication. He cultivated love for our country.

I am sure all military men faced similar challenges. They possess similar characteristics as my father had. They believe freedom and peace are worth fighting for.

They must love their country very much, or they would not be sacrificing their safety and comfortable family life to serve.

Susie Antonia is a Filipino-Canadian. Publisher of The Good Apple, for teachers and parents of children with special abilities. Avid storyteller. Educator. Healing Humor. For heartwarming stories, join her tribe.

Gabriela Francisco. Avid storyteller. Educator. Sunset Chaser. Poodle lover. Photographer. Beach walker.

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