Every Memorial Day I feel compelled to speak as a dual citizen in support of our militaries. My mother told us starting at an early age: “Patrick, whenever you meet an American, invite him to your home for dinner, and when you are old enough, buy him a beer. If it was not for the Americans, we’d be wading around in rice paddies, speaking Japanese.” (Refer to “Australia” the movie with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.)
On board a Japanese submarine, forced to surface by the 5th Fleet, Navy intelligence found invasion plans for Australia, including rice-planting patterns, and language indoctrination “drills.” The media made both our countries, New Zealand included, shiver at the thought. From that time on, the US was regarded as our savior, and travel there someday, you’ll see this appreciation for yourself — alive and well. Unlike some other countries, we didn’t have short-term memory loss.
We fought alongside Yanks at Bataan, the Philippines, Tripoli, D-Day, Ypres in France, Italy, Belgium, Iwo Jima, Coral Sea, and Malaysia. Kiwis and Yanks enjoyed the care given by warm female hospital nurses in hospitals for sick leave, and beers together afterward — ad nauseum.
I now sell real estate in this New Zealand-ish-looking valley and don’t take any of it for granted — neither will my kids.
I’ve been having you to my house and buying beers since 1978.