It’s easy to forget when you’re on a battle field and fighting for your country, not to mention protecting your own life, that the person on the bad end of your bullet is a person too.
The realization became vividly clear for U.S. G.I., Dick Laird after he killed Japanese solider Paul Tatsuguchi in the battle over Attu in 1943, according to CBS Denver. For that act of war, Laird won a Silver Star.
Laird found Tatsuguchi’s diary and had it translated from Japanese to English.
Mark Obmascik recounts the story in his book, The Forgotten Battle.
“They (The Americans) had been taught they were killing savages but in fact the diary showed that he(Tatsuguchi) was a man full of heart and humanity and had a wife he missed,” said Obmascik to CBS Denver. “It made some American GIs think twice about who the enemy truly was.”
CBS reports that Tatsuguchi had finished medical school in medical school in California and went by the name of Paul. His Japanese girlfriend had joined him in the U.S. and they married at Niagara Falls.
Laird tracked down Tatsuguchi’s daughter to give her her father’s diary.
The story will be told Sunday night on 60 Minutes on CBS.
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