The Rising Sun – a poem

THE RISING SUN 

Dedicated to the elite troopers of the 11th Airborne Division and all the other gallant forces who fought in the Pacific during WWII

by: Peter S. Griffin

1943 Camp MacKall Yearbook

1943 Camp MacKall Yearbook

Out of the east, the horror would come,
The dreaded war beast of THE RISING SUN,
Sunday, December 7th of '41,
That day of infamy, the war had begun...

The Pacific Ocean was their nest,
Full of warships, carriers the best...
Tora, Tora, Tora!, was their call,
A sneak attack would signal our fall...

Torpedo bombers led the way,
Pearl Harbor was sleeping, resting that day...
Hickam Field was quiet as well,
Soldiers at ease, Tojo quite pleased...

Devastation was thorough and quick,
Japanese treachery had done the trick...
Our Pacific Fleet was left in ruins,
Sunken ships, in a burning lagoon...

Midway, Wake and Guam fell next,
America's forces were most perplexed...
General MacArthur left the Philippines,
Japanese forces, fulfilling their dreams...

British possessions in the Far East,
Were soon to suffer, similar defeat...
Soldiers of THE RISING SUN,
Had the Allies on the run...

Instilling terror everywhere,
Samurai Soldiers had nothing to fear...
Gobbling up islands as they progressed,
Japs reveling in, such easy conquests...

It wasn't long before we rallied,
Our Air Forces would better the tally...
Doolittle and his Bombers filled the air,
Soon Tokyo, would taste the fear...

Japanese Soldiers would fight to the death,
Suicide acceptable, if aided conquest...
The "Bushido Code"* called for this,
American power would grant them their wish...

Naval battles would turn the tide,
Coral Sea, Midway, many Japs were to die...
American Soldiers and Marines,
Were soon to silence, the Bonzai screams...
11th Airborne Division patch

11th Airborne Division patch

Our Merchant marines joined the foray,
"The Red Ball Express" saved many a day...
The Japanese were a bitter foe,
Jungle fighting was toe to toe...

Heavy fighting was the theme,
Island hopping was the scheme...
Coast watchers monitored our foe,
We'd attack as we'd grow...

Victories on Iwo Jima and Saipan,
Forced the Japs to alter their plans..
American flags, being raised everywhere,
Japanese losses, exploding in air...

MacArthur and Halsey gathered their might,
Taking Leyte in the dark of night...
Kamikazes struck from the air,
Jap desperation, reached a new tier...

MacArthur's promise was right on,
American troops stormed Luzon...
Paratroopers jumped on Corregidor,
Airborne soldiers opened the door...

The Bataan Death March, horrors begotten,
Japan's atrocities not forgotten...
The Los Baños Raid, liberation at dawn,
Paratroopers jumped, to right such a wrong...

B29's bombed the Isles of Japan,
Fire bomb raids were scorching their lands...
Jap industries burst into fire,
"Tokyo Rose" became known as a liar...

To invade the land of THE RISING SUN,
America would lose, too many sons...
On an August day, flew the 'Enola Gay,'
Atomic blasts would finish the task...

Anchored in Tokyo Bay,
"Missouri Guns" seemed to sway...
Leaders of THE RISING SUN,
Had to answer, for what they had done...
September 2nd of '45,
"V-J Day" had finally arrived...
THE RISING SUN was set by the best,
"The Sleeping Giant" put them to rest...


* Bushido means, the way of the warrior.

Yank magazine Sept. 1945 (notice the helmet stenciling)

Yank magazine Sept. 1945 (notice the helmet stenciling)

 

Peter Griffin is a Paratrooper with an outstanding combat record. His military decorations include the Viet Nam Service Medal w/ two bronze battle stars, the Silver Star, the Vietnamese Paratrooper Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Recondo Patch, etc. More of his poems can be found on the web site Paratroopers of the 50’s http://home.hiwaay.net/~magro/poemsww2.html
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Farewell Salute –

Donald Meads – Elverson, PA & Jupiter, FL; USMC WWII PTO, pilot receiving 5 Battle Stars and the DFC

Robert Saunders – Boynton Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII

Margaret “Peggy” J. Brabham – Warm Sulphur Springs, GA & Leeds, Alabama; United States Intelligence Service, WWII

Edward Herman – Oceanside, Long Island NY & Hutchinson Island, FL; Army Air Corps Band, WWII

Larry Lockwood – Utica, NY & Lantana, FL; US Army, WWII

John B. Boy – Johnson City, TN & LaBelle, FL; US Navy, WWII, Captain of the USS C350 (subchaser), USS PC613 (patrolcraft) & USS Holton, DE _ 703 (destroyer escort)
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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 25, 2013, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. So moving! How did I miss this post!! I love your blog. Obviously~

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  2. Met someone who I think you’d like. He was in the USAF, directing our cold war missiles toward their targets. He has strong opinions on targeting high density populations. He objected, in retrospect on the use of atomic bombs on Japan.

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    • Yes, there are different opinions on the bomb. Some say Japan was devastated and didn’t really didn’t need the bomb to help them decide. Then, when our troops did go in to Japan; they discovered tons of ammo, fuel, enough materiel buried underground to do critical damage to us. So – the debate goes on.

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  3. Korea has just been very much on the news here in New Zealand. New Zealand still has armed personnel in Korea, which not many people knew. Lots of news coverage on the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki too.

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    • Being in the Pacific, it is understandable that you would receive more info about that area than I, here in Florida. That’s why I’m always asking you all to chime in and add what info you have. I try to research every post thoroughly, but there’s no way I can get all the data on everything – I count on you guys to help. Thanks for stopping in.

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  4. Beautiful poem, thanks for sharing and I look forward to the one on the chaplains.

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  5. Interesting narrative poem, and for all the moral equivocation over the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the horrors unleashed on civilians by those acts, maybe it really was preferable to the alternative of a protracted land invasion of Japan. For sure, if the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was the sowing of the wind, then the flight of the ‘Enola Gay’ in 1945 saw the reaping of the whirlwind; mercifully, such ultra-potent weapons have never had to be deployed again in any war since.

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  6. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    This is a wonderful poem.

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  7. My father would agree about unfathomable situations. he never forgot and rarely talked of the sitatuations and things he had seen. We never had hot cocoa during the winter because of one of those situations – he’d smell it and begin to cry. When he told me years later,It made me cry as well and put my arms around him to let him know it was okay now. But he never forgot.

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  8. This poem is not just about history, it is history, and I thank you for posting it. The traditional form of the ballad to memorialize a shared experience puts it into phrases that can echo down the years. The arc of the story from “December 7th of 41” to “September 2nd of 45” is concise, yet full of evocative detail, especially for those who lived to tell the tale.

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  9. This poem certainly brings back memories of WWII. I was only 3 and a half when the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. My parents and grandparents were stunned. I asked if we would soon see an enemy invasion. They tried to show confidence: “Not yet.” they said, “but it was a possibility.” My father at 34 was drafted into the USMC Reserves and saw action on Okinawa. My mother was left without much of an income to raise her two sons.

    An uncle died in a plane crash over England and other uncles served in the Army and Coast Guard.. A family friend came to be known as 4F-Freddie, because he couldn’t pass the physical. He helped as best he could on the home front. Remember the Air-Raid Wardens who’d knock on your door if they could see light coming our of your house. The top half of head-lights were covered so they were less visible to enemy planes and subs. I still have a rationing book. We must have eaten healthier back then. We had much less meat and were urged to plant Victory Gardens.

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  10. gpcox – What else can be said? Peter Griffin writes a compelling poem.

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  11. Reblogged this on Heartafire's Blog.

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  12. High prices paid all round, the victims of detention camps still dying later on, these are the forgotten ones..

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    • War creates unfathomable situations that eventually become forgotten – we have to try and keep people aware of this. That’s why I am continually asking people to add stories that know of. Thanks for stopping in.

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  1. Pingback: Vignettes of a Protean Sun | Rain-Chimes~ My Poetry Blog

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