My regular readers know that I try to avoid “heavy” topics. Sure, I’ll memorialise our veterans and sing their praises. But otherwise, I try to keep things humourous and light around here. But today, I find myself having to do something quite unusual.
Most of you have heard of the Bataan (pronounced bat-a-AN, as I was pointedly instructed by a Filipino friend) Death March. What is rarely mentioned is the number of Filipinos who died side-by-side with our soldiers, whether as soldiers or as civilians trying to give food and water to our soldiers. They watched and reported on the Japanese occupiers, and aided our efforts in retaking the Philippines in 1944.
Now is our opportunity to pay them back. The devastation from Typhoon Haiyan is beyond words. While ships are headed to Tacloban, Cebu, and others, their top speeds are little more than 35mph. Most runways are short or out of service (or both), limiting where civilian airliners can land. The helicopter-airplane hybrid V-22 Ospreys fly less than half as fast as a Boeing or Airbus, and the Blackhawk and Chinook helos fly slower than those. It will take time, a LOT of time, to get aid into the devastated areas. And as every day passes, more people die, more become sick, and the disease and deprivation grow beyond belief.
So please, whatever you can possibly give, please support the relief efforts. You can check with your local news channels for approved charitable organisations. The Red Cross is always a safe bet. But regardless of which agency you choose, or however you choose to help, I ask you … no, I beg you, on behalf of the good, decent people of the Philippines, please do whatever you can. And thank you, for allowing me to impose on you in this way