My mother is an American, married to a
Filipino. She and Europeans had to live in the Ermita section of Manila.
I mention this because many years later I was told Japanese xenophobia
was the reason they tried to kill the lot of us. Except for me our group
was so Caucasian that this event could have occurred in Stalingrad.
I was eleven years old at the time. That
early Feb. '45 evening the visible city surrounding our house was
ablaze. Glowing bits of paper were sailing like leaves against the
orange-black sky. We left the house and directly ahead of us on the
plaza were hundreds of people. Japanese troops were shouting and
assembling the crew into some sort of order. (They had passed the word
that they were going to shelter us because our city was afire.)
As I shuffled across the street my foot
knocked over an inverted flower pot. I knew this was a cover for an
aerial bomb buried with the fuse head up. We had watched the Japanese
dynamiting holes to emplace them. Civilians memorized these locations so
we could warn the American tankers. A Japanese soldier yelled "Kura" and
shoved me away. Had my heel struck the fuse you kids wouldn't be here.
The Jap was going to die anyway, sooner than later, I didn't. My sister
Nancy told me after reading my account that a man ahead of her did step
on a "land mine" and blew up a little ahead of her.