Friday, December 2, 2011

Personal Impact of Pearl Harbor

The Personal Impact of Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2011, is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It drew the United States into a war which already had been raging for over two years in Europe and ten years in Asia. The life of almost every family in this country was affected by this event, some more than others. The attack on Pearl Harbor fundamentally impacted our family.

When the Japanese Imperial Navy bombed Pearl Harbor, my mother and her parents and siblings were living in Seattle. They experienced the blackouts which were imposed on the West Coast. Grandpa Herzog was a blacksmith at the Olympic Foundry, which produced war materials. Mom sewed for a uniform manufacturer. Her two brothers entered military service, one in the Navy, the other in the Army. And a neighbor family was taken to a detention camp (they lost their property). Rationing limited what you could buy and how much.

My father’s family was likewise affected. Dad was already in the U.S. Army. His brother Herb became a soldier, too. Some of Dad’s nephews also joined the military.

In December 1941, Dad was in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Fairbanks, Alaska. At that time he was enrolled in the University of Alaska and expected to continue his college after his enlistment expired at the end of the year. Pearl Harbor changed all that. After the attack, his enlistment was extended indefinitely, at least to the end of hostilities. Then he was transferred to Kodiak and Seattle, then the Aleutians. While stationed in Seattle, he met Mom. Later they were wed while he was on emergency leave. I was born almost a year before the end of the war while Dad was in the Aleutians. He served on Adak and landed on Shemya.

After the war, Dad decided to make the Army a career, so about half my childhood was spent in Alaska: Juneau, Nome, Kodiak, and Adak. Two of my sisters were born in Alaska, Roberta in Juneau and Marie in Nome. The third sister, MariLyn, was born on an Army base (Fort Lawton) in Seattle.

Dad retired at the end of 1959 after 20 years of service. Coincidentally, Alaska became a state in 1959, and Hawaii gained statehood soon afterward.

The attack on Pearl Harbor not only changed the lives of my parents, it shaped our family. Because of it, Dad met and married Mom, and I and my sisters were born where we were. Because of it, Dad stayed in the service and Seattle became our hometown, and this influenced my decision to attend Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon.

Now the story comes full circle. Capt. Mitsuo Fuchida was the lead pilot of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Three years after the surrender of Japan, the dispirited Fuchida found a tract written by a former US airman, Jacob DeShazer. He became a Christian, then an evangelist. While I was a student at Warner Pacific College, Capt. Fuchida came to visit and spoke in chapel. That is when I met him personally and took his hand as a brother in Christ. Not only had Pearl Harbor shaped my family, Jesus Christ had changed the man who led the attack. Because of that, meeting Fuchida is one of the most memorable moments of my life.

This story of Pearl Harbor begins with an act of war and ends with reconciliation. Enemies became friends and brothers. This would not have been possible without God. Jacob DeShazer was reconciled to God, then to his former enemies. The Apostle Paul says, "God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself . . . in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them . . ." (2 Cor. 5:18-19). He did this through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross (Col. 1:20).

Paul also said that God "gave us the ministry of reconciliation" and is "entrusting us with the message of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Mitsuo Fuchida was reconciled to God after reading a tract written by Jacob DeShazer. Fuchida and DeShazer later met, became friends and partners in ministry. God reconciled one person to Himself, then used that person to reconcile that person’s enemy to Himself, then reconciled them to each other.

As we observe the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and remember the impact on our nation and our people, also keep this in mind: On December 7, 1941, Japan and the United States were enemies. Now we are friends, reconciled. Thanks to God through Jesus Christ, DeShazer and Fuchida, who had been enemies, were reconciled as friends and brothers. Also thanks to God, through Jesus Christ many of us have been reconciled to Him and live. Romans 5:10 says, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." God reconciles us to Himself, then to each other, then uses us to bring others to Him for reconciliation.

Seven days from the end of this month we celebrate Jesus’ birth. This is why He was born, to reconcile us, the enemy, to God.

Wesley G. Vaughn 
Dover, OH
All Scriptures from the English Standard Version

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: As Good as She Imagined - The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson

As Good as She Imagined
by Roxanna Green with Jerry B. Jenkins
A book review by Wesley G. Vaughn
September 11 was the tenth anniversary of Al-Qaida’s devastating attack on our country. It was also the tenth birthday of Christina-Taylor Green, an event she never saw. She was one of six people who died January 8, 2011, when nineteen people were shot, including United States Representative Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords.

As Good as She Imagined is her story, written by her mother, Roxanna Green, with Jerry Jenkins. In it, we see the how faith shaped the life of the family. Each chapter begins with a Scripture. The story tells how every major difficulty, such as the birth of their first child, drove them to trust more deeply in God. This book is truly written for the soul.

Roxanna tells how she and her husband John, a major-league baseball scout, met and married, and about the birth of Dallas, their autistic son. He had trouble coping with change and forming relationships and was doomed to attend only special-needs schools.

Christina-Taylor was born two years later. A bright child, she went on to excel in baseball, music, art, and academics, as well as being a friend to everybody she met. Her bubbly, outgoing personality and genuine love worked a miracle in her brother. He bonded with his sister, and they became inseparable friends. He began to form relationships and adjust to changes in life. Dallas is now able to be in regular classes with ordinary students, play baseball and take Karate.

Her Christian faith and her grandmother led Christina-Taylor to develop her desire to actively help people in need, and she became interested in political action. In the Fall of 2010, she was elected to the Student Council at school. When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announced “Congress on Your Corner” nearby, Christina-Taylor wanted to go and meet Gabby. Her ambition was to one day go to Congress. Suzi Hileman, a close family friend, took her to the local Safeway store, where the event was scheduled. Suzi was seriously wounded in the fusillade.

Once again, it was faith in God which held up the Green family and enabled John, Roxanna and Dallas to go on. The CTG Memorial Foundation was set up to help those Christina-Taylor wanted to help.

Christina-Taylor Green’s story caught the attention of President Obama. At the “Mass for the Healing of Our Community” in Tucson, he highlighted her life, holding it up as an example to all of us, and said, “I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.”

If we will be "the light of the world" and "the salt of the earth" where we live, study, work, shop and play, we can help our corner of the world to be "as good as she imagined."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Answers to the POTUS Quiz

Here are the answers to the POTUS Quiz:

  1. James (6)
  2. Benjamin Harrison (see Question 4)
  3. Andrew (Jackson and Johnson, from Tennessee)
  4. Grover Cleveland, two non-consecutive terms (see Question 2)
  5. William Henry Harrison
  6. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  7. John Adams & John Quincy Adams, George H. W. Bush & George W. Bush
  8. Wm. Henry Harrison & Benjamin Harrison
  9. Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Baines Johnson
  10. Woodrow Wilson (Princeton) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (Columbia)
  11. Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams
  12. Richard Milhous Nixon
  13. Gerald Rudolph Ford
  14. Polk, Taft, Ford, Bush, Bush
  15. Washington, Eisenhower (10 letters each)
  16. James Buchanan
  17. John Adams
  18. George Washington
  19. Jomes Monroe (Monrovia, Liberia)
  20. Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Monday is Presidents Day here in the United States.
Here are several questions about the Presidents of the United States.
How many of them can you answer?

Post your answers in a comment, numbering them by the questions.
If a follow-up question is in parentheses, put that answer in parentheses.
I will post answers to this later.

1. What is the most common presidential first name? (How many times?)

2. Which President was preceded and succeeded by the same person?

3. Two presidents with similar last names, from the same state, were the only two with this first name:

4. Who is the only man to be two presidents?

5. Which President served the shortest time in office?

6. Which President served the longest time in office?

7. Which presidents were father & son? Name the pair(s)

8. Which presidents were grandfather & grandson? Name the pair(s)

9. Which presidents had the same last name, but were not related?

10. Which U.S. presidents had been presidents of Ivy League universities? (Which schools?)

11. Which presidents' elections were decided by Congress, because no one had a majority of electoral votes?

12. Who was the only U.S. President to resign?

13. Which President had not been elected as either President of Vice President?

14. Which presidents had the shortest last names?

15. Which presidents had the longest last names?

16. Which President was a bachelor?

17. Who was the first President to live in the White House?

18. Which President has a state named after him?

19. Which president has a foreign capital named after him? (Which capital?)

20. Which President was sworn in by his father?