WHY WE GATHER
Why... Why We Gather?
Some 14-15 years ago, I became re-immersed in something I had heard about briefly as a kid; The Bataan Death March. Just the title fascinated me, and as you might guess, it became the subject for some Music years later. My first interactions with this History were casual, but later, my home office would become a virtual museum containing over 40 hours of rare video, photos and copious mementi from many of the Vets who had become more than friends.
For an epic work entitled, Kakehashi: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE, I found myself talking with a Death March Survivor. Soon it was ten. I was amazed to find anyone still alive from such a dark, torment-filled time. But later, I would come to either meet or be in contact with 333 Survivors, all of whom received the DVD version of Kakehashi: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE as a gift. (It's over 350 now...)
For the past 7 years, I would attend a monthly breakfast of our local Survivors. As you can imagine we became very close. I was honored to be their adopted grandson.
Now, there is much much much to this, perhaps later disclosed in other articles, and of course within the Music and the World-Historic recording of the Music, but let me start this discussion by describing what these incredible Souls endured.
They suffered the unimaginable and were reduced to the most base form of “animal.” Horribly, there was enough Humanity left within to recognize this most lowered form of self. Some hated themselves and claimed that it was the “good” who died. After 3 years, 8 months and 25 days of imprisonment, where 31,095 Souls were sacrificed to brutal conditions and inhumane hardship, the day of surrender did not mark an end to their agonizing imprisonment, ordeals on the “Hell Ships” and then continued slave labor in Japan. For them, the war would last much longer. In fact, it has taken almost 40 years before these valiant ex-POW’s began to speak of the events we now sum in the phrase, “Bataan Death March.” Of course, some… took the War to their graves.
Because it's easy to forget. I have made it a point to rub elbows with the Greatest Souls I have ever known... and you should to, and on a regular basis. Time is short.
Rubbing elbows with Men and Women like these over the past important years, provides for volumes to share. What keeps a Man alive under conditions like that? What are the things they believe in? In addition to the physical characteristics, which I find fascinating and worthy of study, there is an obvious role to the psychological aspects as well.
Later I will share some of the many many things I have learned from these incredible Men and their Wives. Health secrets, perspectives, stories that will inspire and more.
Godspeed! S (You can order the Award-Winning THAT WE MIGHT LIVE here.)
© Stephen Melillo 2012