AMID TH' ENCIRCLING GLOOM - CORREGIDOR AND SURVIVAL
By Al McGrew with Paul F. Whitman
Print Book, 240 Pages
Ebook, Apple iPad and Kindle format
Standard Landscape 10x8 in, 25x20 cm format,  202 pages.


I don't much recall meeting Al McGrew, because once I had, it soon seemed that I'd known him most of my life. I do recall seeing him sitting quietly amidst the sharp green grass overgrowing the ruins of what was once Battery Ramsay, Corregidor. What was he thinking, all these years after? What brought him back to Corregidor, year after year, to commune with ghosts?

I learned that he was recharging his batteries. 

In a way, we all know Al. He's the skinny, naive country kid who left home in the pursuit of friendship and the road to adventure, and found instead Dai Toa Senso, Japan's Great Pacific War. Yet with the rising and falling of Colonial and Imperial empires around him, Al emerged from his POW years a peculiar amalgam of strengths and weakness. Nietzsche said that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and Al's memories of all those years ago are clearer than what he did yesterday, and we are all the better for it.  So he makes US stronger.   
  
We don't own history, we only hold it in trust for our children. Good people who experience, achieve and survive something extraordinary, when others have not, voluntarily shoulder certain obligations upon themselves, not just for society, but also for those of their contemporaries who did not survive. One of the more poignant obligations of their survival is to relate the experience, on behalf of those who did not. The knowledge of surviving veterans, whose time is shortly upon them, is a living treasure. Their memories,  but our treasure. 

Our obligation, as the generation that follows them, is to record and regard their human experiences, their humanity, while they are still with us. These fragments are our treasures in trust, valuable only when we can refresh their experience by passing them along.  So-called historians will come along a hundred years after us, and tell us what our history was. Yet only those of us who can sit with the veterans in their parlour, and who listen closely, can recall their humanity.
 Sit now, in comfort, and listen to the quiet voice of a true Survivor. 


 
   
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