soldierLt. Hiroo Onoda, a soldier in the Japanese army, was sent to the remote Philippine island of Lubang in 1944 to conduct guerrilla warfare. Onoda was supposed to blow up the pier at the harbor and destroy the Lubang airfield. Unfortunately, his commanders, who were worried about other matters, decided not to help Onoda on his mission and soon the island was overrun by the Allies.  Time passed, the war ended, but nobody officially told Onoda; so for 29 years, Onoda remained a dedicated soldier, living in the jungle, eating coconuts and bananas and deftly evading searching parties. Hiding out in the dense jungles, Onoda ignored the leaflets, newspapers, photographs and letters from relatives dropped by planes during the years; he was convinced they were all part of an Allied plot.

In 1974, a college dropout named Norio Suzuki traveled to the Philippines, telling his friends he was out to find a panda, the Abominable Snowman and Lt. Onoda. Where others had failed, Suzuki succeeded. He found Lt. Onoda and tried to convince him that the war was over. However, Onoda refused to leave the island until his commander ordered him to do so. Suzuki traveled back to Japan and found Onoda’s former commander, who had become a bookseller. On March 9, 1974, Suzuki and the commander/bookseller met Onoda and delivered orders that all combat activity was to be ceased, and Onoda laid down his arms.

 

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. – Will Rogers

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