One level cup of watery soup, with a miniscule amount of radish floating in it, made for a meal, twice a day. For lunch, there was a small ball of rice. This was the sort of food they survived on, for four years, on the days their Japanese overseers actually fed them.
They weren't in Japanese forces hands because they'd been captured. They were being held prisoners of war because they had obeyed orders to surrender, via the chain of command, of the United States Marine Corps, during WWII.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Terence Sumner Kirk, United States Marine (Retired), was one of a group of Marines stationed in North China on December 7, 1941, the day the Imperial Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor.
"If dying without a whimper is the mark of a man, there wasn't a boy among them."
Master Gunnery Sergeant Terrence Sumner Kirk, United States Marine (Retired).
Disease was rampant, and the only medicine they usually had access to was charcoal.
In his book, MstrGuySgt. Kirk gives us a detailed account of how life played out for U.S. Military prisoners of war, at the hands of the Japanese. There are great hardships described, and insurmountable odds for survival, but the under-current throughout the entire story is the consistency in hope for freedom. They held onto that hope every day, until the day of their death, or until the day they walked out of their prison compounds, when the war ended. Hope was the constant factor that kept many of them alive, because they fashioned their existence around it.
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