Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: January 30th to February 2nd, 1945

Jan 30, 1945—Conditions in Camp continue to get worse; altho (sp) the soybean mash, after Japs have processed it for most of its food values still has some nourishment in it and helps when added to the thin soup. So many are sick with beriberi due to starvation; their bodies so swollen that movement is difficult; face so swollen can hardly see; legs and feet like huge sausages; three or four die every day; the hospital is so overcrowded that have enlarged the GYM hospital and also many are left in quarters; stretcher bearers are busy and sometimes have two on a stretcher; I saw one dead man and one unconscious on one stretcher; NINE have died in the last thirty hours; some of us who are not sick have staggers, cannot walk far in a direct line.

Mr. Grinnel, Mr. Duggleby, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Larsen who were put in Camp Jail by Japs on Dec 23, were taken early this month to Ft. Santiago by the Jap Military Police, and have not been heard from since; during the past year none of the prisoners taken to Ft. Santiago have come back, a few have been reported as sent to new Bilibid at Muntinglupa, but most of them will never be seen again.

At night we can see gun flashes to the north, distant explosions; bombing to southeast, there is a haze of smoke and dust over the city; we are all very much excited, we believe help is near; many rumors but it’s sure that there is fighting to the north of Manila; the Japs are packing up, have sent out much of their supplies that were stored in the rooms below us.

Jan 31—The city is trembling from the blasting of buildings and piers by Japs, also much bombing in the suburbs, three of the fastest planes we ever saw flew over us so fast could just see a streak; Japs appear to be trying to destroy all the modern buildings we have put up during the past 40 years (my grandfather served in the Spanish American War in the Philippines as a young man from Kansas, which is how he ended up there and staying for most of the rest of his life; he had a very great attachment to the Philippines, so this would have been particularly distressing for him); they (the Japanese soldiers) are very uneasy and excited; our army is evidently very close.

Feb 1st—A noisy night, not much sleep, loud explosions all night as Japs used demolition bombs in port area, great fires in Cavite Province; very distant cannonading; Great oil fires, some in Port area, some appear to be in the Walled City;

Feb 2nd—Much blasting in and around Manila, planes over us but no bombing.

Every morning for the last few days we have been up before daylight; this is no time to sleep late; and from our window can see a beautiful dawn, fiery red through the clouds long before sunrise, and then the sun breaks thru and down through the blood red glare come our planes. It’s a wonderful sight; we are so thin that the early morning air is chilly; but things are happening so fast and relief appears so near that we cannot miss anything happening; the Japs are apparently going this time, not much left in their stores below us; they have several cars and trucks parked in front of the Ed. building ready to go.

 

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Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: January 11th to January 29th, 1945

Jan 11—All night the city was lighted by glare of fires and rocked by great explosions.

Jan 12—Tremendous explosions, rifle and machine gun fire in city

Jan 13—Bombers went north; heavy bombing in hills beyond Marquina River.

We have very little food, only 1/4 pint of weed soup at noon. The night was quiet except for fires.

Jan 14—Planes came at 10am, quite PM except for fires and far away explosions, at night.

Jan 15—No noon meal.

Jan 16—Planes at work again, very heavy bombing all day, to north and east, far away big fires to N and W.

*****WE ARE VERY HUNGRY, allowed only five ounces of rice or corn which loses about 20% when cleaned, cup of mush for breakfast, sometimes small coup of weak soup at noon; ladle of rice at 4PM; with stood of some kind of pig weed, may be a little so-called gravy; someone dies every day; very few medicines, have been confined to quarters except for one hour at meal time (when we have any), since Jan 6, we lay on our bunks most of the time, so weak cannot walk up one flight of stairs without holding onto the rail and stopping to rest several times; morale is very low, all are quarrelsome, cranky, some beg from the Japs; some scrape up droppings of food from the ground under the mess tables and in the slop barrels, which a year or so ago were so full now have only a few weed stalk butts; I never thought Americans could get so low as some of the people in here, they will beg, borrow, steal and lie for scraps of garbage; will steal your dish, your food, soap, tobacco, clothes, anything which might be food or traded for tobacco; send their little children, who somehow keep strong enough to get about, out to beg and steal; they even raided the Jan kitchen for scraps of bones.

Jan 17-18—Not much doing

Jan 19—Many heavy explosions during night, heavy bombing in nearby provinces.

Jan 20—Raining, could hear planes above the clouds.

Jan 21—Distant flashes last night like gunfire, fire glares to north, big bombers heavily bombed Marquina, great columns of dust and debris, heavy explosions about 500 yards away, and others at intervals all night.

Jan 22—Same.

Jan 23—Heavy bombings in Valley and closer, anti-air fragments came through our roof, wounding two.

Jan 24, 25, 26—Some bombing, many planes pass over toward the north.

Jan 27—Last night was noisy, distant bombing and cannon fire toward Lake area, this morning planes bombing so near and low we can see the STAR (the decal on the side of the American planes signifying the U.S.), very large planes pass over every (sp? “very”?) high.

Jan 28—Sunday, a big day, huge oil fire in direction of Cavite; terrific explosions in port area, dust and gasses thousands of feet in air; our bombers at bay and at Mariquina, also sounds like artillery firing E and S E.

Jan 29—A very noisy night, explosions through the City; today two heavy explosions in port area and many smaller ones, look like Piers.

Trying to take a sabbatical from the political posts…

A couple of thoughts before I (attempt to) take a break from the political posts (HOPEFULLY; fingers crossed) for what I’m intending to be a good long while; I’m not getting off FB completely, just steering away from the politics:

I’ve always tried to be fair with my political posts and in my interactions with people who comment on them. Key word, “try”; I know I’ve been abrasive and terse from time to time, but not often and never outright malicious, and certainly not “hateful” like I was accused of being just this morning; you’re mileage on that statement may vary, probably depending on your political point of view. But I’ve ALWAYS accepted everybody’s sincerity when it comes to their beliefs. I just realize there comes a point where you reach an impasse with somebody on a given subject to where it’s useless to continue talking about it, because then you’re just talking in circles.

I get enough people who tell me publicly, or privately via Messenger, and quite often when they see me in person, how much they like and enjoy reading what I write…even when they disagree with me. And I get that last a lot more often then you’d expect. That tells me that I AM being fair and respectful with what I’m saying. And I take that very much to heart.

Finally, try a little empathy. It’s easy to demonize people who don’t share your point of view and to make them into this monolithic “Other” to be despised and disdained, as I KNOW I have friends that tend to do this. Accept other people’s sincerity. I have black friends, gay friends, Jewish friends, and Hispanic friends among others who are genuinely scared about what the forthcoming Trump presidency means for them and their families. They are NOT being sore losers who need to just “get over it”. Assuming that you’re a white voter who supported Trump, understand that while it’s tempting for you to just chuckle and hand wave away their concerns and to say that they’re just being silly about it all, this is a very real concern for them. YOU as a white person are generally not going to be subject to these same fears, so it’s not “real” to you and it’s easy to dismiss it. We’d all be wise to stop seeing the world as Us versus THEM and to see it as being that we’re all just trying to make our way in the world.