Pictures of John
"The Cry" a poem by Edmund S. Culhane
of Foreign Wars
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WORLD WAR II
Prisoner of War Book
August of 1944, and John could barely see the Japanese guards enter the
guardhouse because his eyes were almost swollen shut from previous beatings. He
was beginning to think that it was all over for him. He was sure that the
guards had been ordered to beat him until he died. There's nothing more
these bastards can do to me because I'm no longer afraid of death, he
thought as the guards entered his cage.
guards began their usual ritual. They yelled at him in Japanese and started to
hit him with their fists and a metal rod, and when he slumped down, they kicked
him with their boots. There was a point when John just couldn't feel the pain
anymore. He knew the guards were hitting him because he could feel the impact
of their blows, but he just couldn't feel the pain. He was thinking about his
family and friends and how he probably wouldn't see them again. As he felt
himself slipping away from the reality of a very cruel world, he managed to
somehow muster the strength to show his captors one last act of defiance. It
was just a faint smile, but it would show them that in spite of what they had
done to him, they hadn't defeated him."
"POW-83" is about a young man named
JOHN MACKOWSKI, who
grew up in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn during the Depression and who was
drafted into the Army in March of 1941, nine months before the Japanese
attacked Pearl Harbor. John and his fellow soldiers and sailors were hastily
trained and given inferior, outdated and often malfunctioning equipment with
which to defend themselves. They were shipped out to the Philippines and
ordered to fight a much larger and better equipped enemy while the rest of the
country geared up for war. It is the story of a foot soldier, a Private First
Class (PFC) in the U.S. Army, who fought bravely on Bataan and Corregidor
before he was ordered to surrender to a vicious and violent enemy. Over the
next two and a half years, he barely survived his captivity in several of the
worst Japanese Death Camps in the Philippines before he escaped. There were 750
American Prisoners of War aboard the Japanese 'hell ship' THE SHINYO MARU on
September 7, 1944. By late afternoon they all would be tested one final time
and only 83 would survive!
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RECENT REVIEW: "The story should be told, and to quote Oliver North "THIS IS A WAR STORY THAT SHOULD BE TOLD. The book
was well written and to the point I could not put it down once I started to read it, as a matter of fact I stayed up last night and
finished it. I am a little tired this morning but the time spent reading this book was well worth the loss of sleep. I felt a connection
to this book as I was born 1 year and 10 months before we entered the war, I lived in the Bronx, my father was a NYC Fire Captain. My
fathers older brother Jack was a fireman too and a veteran of WW1, and he reentered the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer for WW2. He was
also my god father and as a child I remember that he was in the Philippines and in the Sea Bees. After the war I wish he had talked more
about this service, but most of those who returned did not talk about their service. I was drafted into the Army and had some of the same
feelings as John Mackowski had, what was going to happen to me and where would I serve. My life was out of my control and in the hands of
the U.S. Army, so be it. Thanks for sharing this story with me. Tom Garrick
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