This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II Book Review

From afar, it may seem that America was the superhero who swooped in to save the day during World War II. The reality is that our country has its own sins to grapple with from the era, i.e. the internment of Japanese-Americans.

This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II, by Andrew Fukuda, was published last year. In 1935, two ten-year-olds become penpals. Alex Maki, from Bainbridge Island, is the son of Japanese immigrants. He believes that the person on the other end of the letter, Charlie Levy from Paris is a boy. When Charlie reveals that she is a girl, he does not initially react well. But she persists and they eventually become good friends.

Their lives are both upended by World War II. After Pearl Harbor, Alex, his family and hundreds of thousands of other Japanese-Americans are forced out of their homes and into interment camps. For the next few years, his home is the Manzanar War Relocation Center. Because she is Jewish, Charlie must grapple with tightning noose that is coming over close to her neck and every neck of of Jewish person in Europe.

This book is really good. What kept me reading was the relationship that changed as the protaganists grew up and faced challenges that would destroy many adults. The details make the narrative jump off the page and hook the reader until very end. It is a marvelous read that hilights a dark time in our history that is not even a century old.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II is avaliable wherever books are sold.

What Will it Take For This Country to Come Together? Another Pearl Harbor?

The United States has always been a land of division. But even with that differences, we have found something to make bridge those divides.

Today is the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Like 9/11 sixty years later, it was a moment in time in which all Americans, regardless of labels or identity, were one.

These days, the cracks are the deepest it has been in generations. We are on the verge, if things go a certain way, of being the former United States of America. Between that and Covid-19, this nation may go down in history as the modern democratic experiment that failed. We know what we need to do to kick this virus to the curb and return to normalcy. We need to get vaccinated, wear our masks, wash our hands, and social distance when necessary.

It’s not rocket science. But there are some in this country who are either too proud, too foolish, or too stupid to realize this. If and when America goes down Hindenburg style, the blame will be on those who were unwilling to take the most simple of steps to prevent our downfall.

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Thoughts On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

To serve in the military is to potentially give everything (your life included) for your country.

Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. 79 years ago, Americans went to bed, grieving for those who were lost at the attack on Pearl Harbor. Over 2400 servicemembers and noncombatants were killed. Another 1178 were injured.

The soldiers who died that day were part of the greatest generation.

The sacrifice they made that day will live on forever.

May their memories be a blessing.

Thoughts On the 78th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

War is not the ideal state for any nation to be in. But when a nation is attacked, they have no choice to fight back.

Today is the 78th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Up until the day that Japan attacked, many Americans were wary of getting involved in the war. Many still had very active memories from World War I. But the attack changed everything.

A generation of young men died that day, their bodies entombed in the sea. They died fighting for their country. 78 years later, their service and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

May the memories of those who died that day forever be a blessing.

Thoughts On The 77th Anniversary Of Pearl Habor

Dec 7th, 1941, was a day that started like any other. By the time the day was over, the United States, which up to that point has stayed out of World War II, was ready to fight. Over two thousand American soldiers were killed and nearly 1200 were wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt labeled the day as day that would live in infamy.

From our modern perspective, World War II was a clean war. What I mean by a clean war was that the objectives were simple. Protect democracy, protect human rights and fight against those who would be happiest in a world where they alone had political power. The wars that followed World War II were not as clean. There were questions of motives, both political and financial and if the cost of the lives lost was worth the war.

The men and women who fought and died in World War II are called The Greatest Generation. They laid down their lives so we could be free. Today, on the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we remember them, thank them and hope that they will continue to be remembered for years to come.

Pearl Harbor, The Day That Defined A Generation

Today is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. December 7th, 1941 was a day that not only defined the generation that lived through that day, but it also still defines us today, two generations after the attack. Pearl Harbor was not only America’s entry point into World War II, it would also become a symbol of the sacrifice and courage of all American soldiers during the war.

When I think of Pearl Harbor, I think of my grandfathers. The songs of Jewish immigrants, they joined their brothers in arms to protect America and democracy from the ravages of those who would twist democracy and freedom to their own needs.  While my grandfathers (as far I know) were not in Hawaii on that day, their sacrifice, as a generation for our freedom will never be forgotten. Especially the men who lose their lives that day and whose loved ones must fly across an ocean to visit their gravesite.

To these men who gave their lives, thank you is not enough. It will never be enough. We can only truly honor their memories by fighting for the ideals that America the great country that she is.

December 7,1941-75 Years Later

Today we remember and mourn the lives lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was the day that pushed America into World War II. It was the day that not only forever changed that generation, but also changed America as we know it to be today.

My grandfathers were young men in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Members of the greatest generation, they fought for liberty and their country. They were the lucky ones, they came home in one piece. 2,403 young men died at Pearl Harbor and 1,178 came home with battle scars.

Pearl Harbor was a turning point in American history. It forced Americans to come together as one nation and take a stand against tyranny and oppression. Just as Americans came together after 9/11 60 years later, we were forced to see our sameness instead our differences.

In Judaism, when someone dies, we say “may their memory be a blessing”. May the memories of those who died at Pearl Harbor be a blessing to those who knew and loved them.

The 9/11 Generation

The last three generations have seen profound and world altering change. My grandparent’s generation watched the world change due to The Great Depression, World War II and the attack at Pearl Harbor. The idyllic world of the 1950’s that my parents grew up in were forever shattered by the assassination of JFK and The Vietnam War.

My generation will be forever defined by one day: September 11th, 2001.

Anyone who knows me (or has read this blog) knows that New York City is in my blood and my bones. My family has been here for over 100 years. My immigrant great-grandparents came to this city and to America to escape the poverty and the oppression of Eastern Europe. Though not without its challenges, this city and her people gave my ancestors the start they needed to provide for future generations.

On September 11th, 2001, New York City was dealt a blow that nearly crippled her and her people. Coming of age in a post 9/11 world has forever changed my generation. We see the consequences of hate and prejudice. We also see the beauty of people coming together and seeing each other not as labels, but simply as human beings.

Where I currently work is very close to the 9/11 Memorial. Most of the time, I don’t pay attention to how close I am. This week, I could not help but think about how close my office is to where the Twin Towers stood.

Tomorrow is 9/11. We will never forget the lives lost and the emotional scar that will never completely heal.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Pearl Harbor (2001)

December 7th, A Day That Will Live In Infamy- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Every generation has that event that forever alters their collective lives. For the Greatest Generation, the event is Pearl Harbor.

The 2001 film, Pearl Harbor, is the story of America’s forced entry into World War II. Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) are best friends. Rafe falls in love with Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale).  Rafe is then transferred to England while Danny and Evelyn are transferred to Pearl Harbor.  Things become complicated when Danny and Evelyn’s relationship becomes more than platonic. Then the Japanese attack.

This is a typical Michael Bay movie. The action and special effects are wonderful. The plot needs some tweaking.

Were the critics wrong? Not entirely. Comparisons to Titanic are inevitable (semi weak story, poorly written dialogue, major historical event, incredible special effects, etc). But where Titanic succeeds, Pearl Harbor fails. 

Do I recommend this movie? If the audience is looking for historical accuracy, no. If they are looking for a typical Michael Bay film, yes.

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