My Father and I and Saburo Sakai.
While doing some research on World War II Japanese naval aviators,
I happened to come across Col Francis Stevens's article "My
Father and I and Saburo Sakai" (Chronicles Online Journal, 21 June
2006). I've read about many amazing things done by members of our
military, but never have I heard of something as astonishing and
noteworthy as what Colonel Stevens did in his interaction with Saburo
Sakai. Although Sakai was renowned for his skill and honor in aerial
combat, Colonel Stevens is a great man in terms of a far more important
virtue--the personal strength of character first to forgive and then to
befriend a former enemy who felled not only many of his countrymen but
also his own father. It was a beautiful act of humanity to which more
people should aspire.
Roger Van Royen
Santa Rosa, California