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Monday, December 5, 2011

December 7. Why this day is different!

A lot of young people of today do not know about Pearl Harbor.
So why is this day so different then other days?

On December 7. 1941 our lives changed. On this day many people lost their lives. On this day the Japanese attacked without provocation the fleet of the USA in Pearl Harbor.This was the day that our lives changed drastically in beautiful Indonesia, where we lived.This was the day the Netherlands declared war to Japan, after this callous attack.
This is the day that I have to think about my father. He fought for our freedom and is lying in a grave in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The Japanese tortured and worked him to death, with thousands and thousands of other men.

It's December 7, for my cousins, who's father lies beneath the sea, there is no grave to mourn him.

It's December 7, for another relative of my husband, the brother she had not heard from since he left for the Dutch East Indies .Piet Siffels was on the Junyo Maru. In the fall of 1944 he was taken on this hell ship, to be shipped with thousands of men to work as slaves for the Japanese.That day 5620 Dutch, English, Australians and American POWs and Javanese slave laborers died, when this Japanese cargo boat was torpedoed on September 18 1944. Ironically exactly one year before on the same day my father had died. Piet Siffels was only 29 years old. He has no grave and is lying on the bottom of the ocean off the South West coast of Sumatra.

Today is a day to think about all who gave their lives. Because of them we live in Freedom.

In a country where you are not free, remembering is not allowed. People who were thinking different, did not only disappear but also left no traces. Nobody is allowed to talk about them. Nobody is allowed to think about them and nobody is allowed to remember them.

But in a country that is Free, remembering is Free.

The traces of our loved ones will never be erased.Their names will never be forgotten. We are allowed to think about them. Some wounds will never heal, but they belong for ever to us, and are part of our history. This is what December 7 is all about. You cannot take freedom for granted. We all are responsible. This is the foundation of our existence and our values, which we hand over to our children.

This day December 7. 1941 we think about this war, which started with the attack on Pearl Harbor. We think about the oppression, the betrayal, the terror, the shame, the want of freedom.

That's why this day is different then all other days.

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