Feb 19, Monday (cont.)—Family escaped afternoon of Feb. 14, Weds., Henry carried Arthur part way on his back, Choly Garcia (family friend; I think my dad described her as the family maid) bandaged and dressed his wounds; they ran through the machine gun fire, snipers and artillery barrage, hundreds being killed, fragments of bodies strewn everywhere, had to leave the body of Anding (my great grandmother) where she died; finally met an American soldier with rifle who smiled and motioned them to pass. Had to stay all night near Singalong Church as no ambulance was near; carried him next morning on an old bed toward Paco and met an ambulance, it was weapon carrier, Capt. Hoffman told Henry would take Arthur to Chinese Hospital near Camp, Arthur was in very bad shape, they gave some sulfur medicine, would not allow Henry to go with him, no room as too many wounded.
Well, the family are in Camp, Mrs and Ellen, Norma, and Jim are in the Dormitory, Charlie and Henry in Room 49 on third floor and Nena on 2nd floor with some women and girls.
(Text continues below pics…)
So this where I detour again from the memoir so I can recount some of what my dad remembers of that week. As you can see from the photo above, taken just a year later, he was just a little boy when it all went down. He recalls sirens going off every night for months, bombs and explosions, and as the previous post mentioned, his family’s house was burned down on February 9th.
He remembers bullets whizzing by their heads as they raced towards the American lines, as in hearing the bullets zip by them (not unlike the opening battle from the movie Saving Private Ryan). One particularly harrowing moment was when, as they were running, I think along the street, they were ambushed by a Japanese soldier…just one soldier, with a gun, in the middle of a battle where Japanese soldiers throughout the city are brutally and intentionally massacring defenseless civilians, including women and children (see stock photos below), and there’s my dad, five years old, with his siblings and mom (I think by this point my great grandmother Anding had already been killed)…
…and the Japanese soldier motions to them not to go that way because more Japanese were over there, but to go the other direction towards the Americans…
So in all of that brutality and death, they happened upon a Japanese soldier with the humanity to spare and save their lives by sending them in the right direction.
The irony and tragedy of the deaths of my great grandmother and uncle Arthur during that battle was that my dad said they were killed by accident, by American mortars as they were advancing. What’s peculiar about that is that my grandfather’s memoirs and Arthur’s tombstone is that he explicitly states they were killed by the Japanese. So I’m not sure if my dad is misremembering it, or if my grandfather blames the Japanese for the battle and all those killed, regardless.
The memoirs are not finished, yet. But we’re very close to the end, now…
Preceding photos pulled from the internet form the Battle of Manila, to demonstrate the humanity and the scale of devastation of the battle.