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August 24, 2005

There's a new movie, "The Great Raid," which I have just seen. It is receiving generally good criticism, but very small audiences. Only three Oklahoma City theaters are showing it. I was prepared to hate the film because of the subject matter and because I had heard about the ghoulish terror and unwarranted, infamous treatment that many of our former enemies in the Pacific war inflicted on our countrymen when World War II was the conflict at hand. The first-hand story was told to me by a former Marine who was stationed with US forces in the Bataan area when the unprovoked attack was launched on the Americans in Hawaii and elsewhere.

My friend, the one who described the war-time situation, was a prisoner of the Asians during the conflict. He survived that ordeal and later joined this newspaper as an advertising staff member. He gave me some of the brutal details, but was always careful about his choice of words. If you knew him, you knew that was normal for him. He was an honest, upright man. I enjoyed our brief time together. He died on the surgeon's table at the VA hospital in Oklahoma City, where he was admitted for rather routine care. They said he was a young man when the war started, but an old man when it ended, thanks to his confinement and lack of nourishing food as a prisoner of war. His name was Boyd Norman.

Anyway, I wanted to see the film very badly. I've read the book it's based on, and I remember Boyd's stories. In my mind, there's no need and no room for tolerance. That kind of depravity defies apologies. I recommend it to you, too. Lest we forget.