U.S Deputy Secretary Ruth Sherman not only come to Solomon Islands to join the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal but also to see where her father fought in the Second World War.
“My father, Mal Sherman, was among thousands of U.S. Marines who fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal. He enlisted two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, at all of 19 years old. Like a lot of World War II veterans, he didn’t like to talk much about his service. He didn’t glory in it. He didn’t revel in it. But still, his experience here shaped him. And it shaped me in return,” Sherman said this morning.
“I know he was wounded in action here on Guadalcanal, and that eventually his wounds became infected with jungle rot. He became sick enough to be evacuated—first to New Zealand, where he always said the Kiwis took extraordinary care of him, and eventually to California.
“Still in his Marine Corps uniform after the war’s end, he and my mother, Mimi, attended the founding meetings of the United Nations in San Francisco—because he believed—they believed—adamantly in creating a world without war. My dad was fortunate. He went home. Healed from his wounds. Married my mom. Started a business. Raised three children, and lived long enough to delight in his grandchildren. When we held his funeral—nearly 70 years after the Battle of Guadalcanal—the room was filled with people whose lives he touched,” she said.
But Sherman added thousands—tens of thousands—hundreds of thousands of other young people who fought in the Pacific… Americans and Australians, New Zealanders and Solomon Islanders, Fijians and Tongans, and of course Japanese… they never had that chance.
But thousands—tens of thousands—hundreds of thousands of other young people who fought in the Pacific… Americans and Australians, New Zealanders and Solomon Islanders, Fijians and Tongans, and of course Japanese… they never had that chance.
She stated that their parents, their spouses, their siblings, even their children had to mourn them from afar.
“They were lost to the jungle, to the beaches, to the fathomless sea—or to the inner pain of having survived when others did not. Their abilities, their ambitions, their most secret dreams, all the possibilities of their futures, all the ways they might have contributed to their communities, to their countries, to our world—gone forever. This is the dreadful cost of war. Not only blood and treasure, but human souls,” said Sherman.