Upon earth we learn nothing but vanity. A dapper haole man, white-haired, wearing socks and sandals, calls the VFW on his phone for a ride. His stuff's in Keaau. Spent the night at the Volcano Post Office. A local guy in floppy green hat schools him. Sleep and shower in Hilo; it's warmer there. Library's open 9-4; you can read all day, if you want. The white man's voice is fast, too fast, but the local guy calms him. The War Memorial page for Hilo has more yellow hotel stars than names. Liberty University “trains Champions for Christ.” There's a “Heroes Fund” scholarship for those wounded in one of our last three wars. When Ratta reads that Saijo was put in a concentration camp, then drafted, he laughs. “I wasn't going to go thousands of miles away to kill people I had nothing against,” he said. “In self-defense!” Jailed briefly in L.A. He wears a bright red Vulcans teeshirt, practices Zen. I used to see Germans on the Big Island; now I see Vietnam vets. You know them by their caps, their dogs, their quick “good mornings” as they walk past. Enduring freedom.
--15 March 2015