Thoughts about War

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Commemorating the end of WW II, August 15, I am posting my article which was submitted to my church newsletter, “Compass” in 2015, with a bit of editing and changes.  It’s pretty emotional!  🙂


I don’t waste food.

I was born ten years after the war.  My grandmother’s stories have sunk into my bones and tissues.  “Never… never waste food,” she said.  “You can’t imagine what ‘starving’ is like. I held onto the outside door rail of a packed train, for hours and hours, going far into the countryside to look for foods.  I carried my valuable silk kimonos, as many of them as I could, and exchanged them for a few sweet potatoes to feed children waiting at home.”

Of course, today we live in such an abundance.  Foods are wasted everywhere all the time.  I should be used to it, but, still, I have this pain whenever I see them wasted.  Her words just come back to me, “….in order for ‘that one apple’ to get into your hands, somebody labored, plowing the soil, growing the sapling, watering, fertilizing, harvesting…. years and years of labour, and only then, this one apple comes into your hands.  It is precious. Let’s be grateful.”

I lived in Los Angeles from age 13 to 18.  Right after arriving there, I was placed in a junior high school, having no English what so ever.  I ate hamburgers and french fries for the first time in my life.  I was amazed.  They were the best foods I have ever had. Those days, Japan was still a developing country (360 yen to 1 US$!) and beef used to be very expensive. We could only have beef at a special occasion.  When my mother would say, “we have Beef Sukiyaki tonight!”, we kids, would jump up and down, super excited.  I remember around the time I entered high school, I was beginning to understand some English.  One day, I had a shocking experience.  It was a history class and the teacher showed the class a film about World War II, particularly about the day the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  A pilot was flying a war plane across the Pacific Ocean, carrying the atomic bomb.  He dropped it, and there were rising huge clouds shaping like a mushroom.  At that moment, the class, all of them except me, rejoiced, clapped hands, whistled, jumped up and down.  I was shocked.  My head went spinning, then went numb. For me, I had understood, the day this bomb was dropped was the most devastating day.  It was literally, hell.  I had grown up listening to stories after stories about this horrendous day….

“Why….? Why are you happy? Why are you rejoicing? Don’t you realize that ‘people’ were living there, underneath that cloud?  Ordinary ‘people’, just like you and me, boys and girls, children, babies….they all were burned at that moment, and died a horrendous death.  They were all living their ordinary lives day by day, just like us, crying, laughing, talking, playing….they were not killing other people…, they had just their lives there.  Why are you so happy? Why? What are you rejoicing?”


The day of 9/11, we all held our breaths watching TV screens of the impressive towering buildings collapsing into mountains of sands.  We all felt shock, sunk in sorrow, prayed for all those people who worked there and thought of their families.  However, I’ve heard that on the opposite side, that there were people watching the same scene with overwhelming joy. Is it different?

I remember sitting in a church in Vancouver, perhaps about ten years ago on a Sunday, listening to a a guest preacher’s sermon.  He was talking about what God’s awe is like.  “Imagine…” the young preacher said.  “There is a plane flying in the clouds, he is pushing the button. Suddenly blinded by sharp flashes of light and the sky turns bright red.  Then a huge cloud covers the entire sky forming into a shape of mushroom.  This is awe…”  I could not believe my ears.  I was ‘awed’ by what I heard.  He, a disciple of Christ, is preaching in a church, a house of God, saying that God’s awe is like the atomic bomb which brought hell to the innocent people living there? Nuclear bombs ARE tools of Satan, aren’t they?  No, not just nuclear bombs – all wars, everything about wars is satanic, no matter how they are justified.

I thought God made us human beings.  So then, God made us all, right?  Americans, Canadians, Japanese, Christians, and Muslims….all.  I wonder why we get to hate each other and spend so much money and energy to develop such demonic weapons to kill.  I wonder if it is for economical and political profits or for never ending revenge.  Something like…they did it to us, so we do it back to them?














Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

One thought on “Thoughts about War

  1. Hello Haruyo, I’m sorry to have missed the RCCO gathering, and hope you had a good time.

    Congratulations on making the decision to retire from full time church music. I hope, however, that you have put yourself on the substitute list!

    I really appreciated your comments about the war, and what life was like for you. My dad was an Army lawyer and spent most of the war in Egypt;my mom moved into her mother’s house in another city when my dadd was away. I really did not know any hardship during that time, so I consider myself really blessed.

    These days I find the inhuman treatment of first nations people, immigrants, the downtown eastside community, and the mentally ill very troubling. I just don’t understand how one human can treat another in such a despicable manner. My latest way of dealing with this is to have kindly conversations with people on the bus. There are usually folks wanting to go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and since I live just hear the bridge, I ask them about themselves, offer directions and wish them well. The smiles we share are a gift to me.

    We’re off on a 2 month driving holiday – to Boston to visit my family. I’ll be back in November. Maybe we could have tea?

    Love to you, my friend, Ginger

    From: pocoapocowithsmile Reply-To: pocoapocowithsmile Date: Friday, August 19, 2016 at 4:07 PM To: Ginger Shaw Subject: [New post] Thoughts about War

    WordPress.com Haruyo Abramson posted: “Commemorating the end of WW II, August 15, I am posting my article which was submitted to my church newsletter, “Compass” in 2015, with a bit of editing and changes. It’s pretty emotional! 🙂 I don’t waste food. I was born ten years afte”


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