Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day to remember all our fallen military servicemen and women, a day similar to Remembrance Day in my former Canada and in the UK. In my blog posts, aside from Christmas and New Years greetings, I've never strayed away from Chinese folkore-related material, but today I shall.
I am very aware that my freedom to type this blog, to write my books, to profess my religion, to marry someone of a different faith (as I did), to travel, to speak my mind, to read whatever I want, and so on is all due to the sacrifices of men and women of the United States Armed Forces. I therefore would like to dedicate this posting to a man who would have been my "uncle" if he had survived World War Two. That man was Mr. Lyle Leonard Ellis.
Lyle Ellis was my father's schoolmate in Vancouver, Canada. He was an American, presumably the son of Americans who lived and worked in Canada. When Canada declared war on Germany, on September 10, 1939, Mr. Ellis did something so typically American--he enlisted in a war not his own to fight for the freedom of others unrelated to him. He could have very well instead returned to the U.S. My father enlisted alongside him, expecting, I guess, that they'd both serve in the same unit. As it turned out, my dad was sent to England, while Mr. Ellis was sent with other Canadians to bolster the British garrison in Hong Kong. It was there, in Hong Kong, that Mr. Ellis was captured by the invading Japanese and sent as a POW to Japan to work in the mines. He died there in captivity on March 17, 1944; the official cause: pneumonia. He is buried in the British Commonwealth POW cemetery in Yokohama. My dad fortunately returned home after the war. Years later, he told me, while I was still a boy, about Lyle Ellis.
I'd like very much for the world, at least for as many people as possible, to know that Lyle L. Ellis once lived in this world and that, like so many Americans, he made the ultimate sacrifice for people he didn't know and for whom he had not yet been required to fight.
Rest in peace, Uncle Lyle, and eternal thanks to you and all Americans who have given their lives for our nation.