I was recently honored with a Land of Lincoln Honor Flight from Springfield to view the Washington memorials. It was the first time I saw the Korean Memorial. I will be forever grateful to that organization and to the many volunteers and donors that made it possible. I still have pleasant memories of my military life in Japan.
One such memory occurred when I went along with two buddies to Tokyo. We noticed a crowd was forming on the palace grounds. Later, the emperor and his wife appeared on the balcony. He raised his arm and nodded his head and hell broke out with shouts of “Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!”
The crowd then surged into a massive wave. We were trapped and had to move with the crowd. We began stepping over people who had fallen down. I noticed a little girl down at my feet. We pushed back the people just enough to pull her up and set her on my shoulders.
Finally, we made it out of the crowd and turned the little girl over to the police. She never cried or talked and only stared at me with her big dark eyes and rosy cheeks. Later, I learned that over 20 people had died in that stampede.
Donald Landers, Bloomington