04 August 2006

Hap halloran torments in Japan

This story I think is one of the most humiliating experience anybody can endure of. Being strip naked and displayed in a zoo for all the population to see. This story I gather from three different site.


Six decades are nothing. Not for the kind of memories Hap Halloran carries.
A 37-millimeter cannon shell piercing the skin of his silver B-29 bomber over Tokyo. His parachute opening in the freezing January air at 27,000 feet. The mob of civilians waiting for him on the ground with sticks and hard shoes, beating him bloody. Sixty-seven days alone in a cold, dark cell at Kempei Tai prison. More beatings. Lice, bed bugs, fleas, running sores.
Then the zoo. Stripped naked, hands and feet chained to the bars of an empty tiger cage, put on display for Japanese visitors. Then four months in a POW camp, his 6-foot-2-inch body dwindling to 115 pounds.
Halloran remembers all the details, mostly because they inhabited his dreams for decades, driving him out of bed and into his quiet suburban street, yelling and smashing windows to escape the butts of his captors' rifles and the fire that threatened to burn him alive night after night.
"You get those memories in there, and there's no eraser to get rid of them,'' Halloran says.

Reading Hap's memories of POW camp elicits a cold chill.
Hap recalls one day when the guards took him from his ''horse stall' prison cell, dragged him out and stripped him naked. Then they threw him into a deserted zoo lion's cage. He went on display for the civilian population to see one of the B-29 ''guys,'' one of those who were turning Tokyo into a flaming inferno. Hap said that time spent in the lion's cage were ''the two worst days of my life.
''I think the military wanted to show the civilian population that these B-29 guys were not supermen. By displaying me, stark naked, in that lion's cage for all to see, they reminded the civilians the B-29 raiders were not so tough after all,'' he said.

One of the men who touched me and impressed me the most was Raymond "Hap" Halloran. He was a B-29 pilot who was shot down over Tokyo while on a bombing mission, and taken as a prisoner of war. Hap started off by telling us that he was no hero, and seemed a bit embarrassed when he got a standing ovation. He told us about being beaten by the civilians as soon as he touched down, parachuting from his disabled bomber. He was kept in a wooden cage that was 8 feet high, 8 feet wide and 10 feet deep. He spent 67 days in solitary confinement in that cage in a wooden stable at the Kempee Tai Tarture prison in downtown Tokyo, right next to the Imperial Palace grounds. Nearly the entire time he was kept in total blackness, not allowed to talk to anyone or make any sound whatsoever. Those who did make sounds were killed, no questions asked or second chances. He was given no soap, or water to wash up with, and was routinely beaten during interrogation sessions. The blood from his beatings would just cake on his body, eventually turning black. After a couple months, he was led into a courtyard where there were 4 other men, he didn't recognize any of them, and they didn't recognize him either. He had lost 90 pounds at this point; he was filthy, covered with sores, dried blood and dirt. The other men in the courtyard that day were members of his own crew, but they had been beaten so severely and changed so much, that they couldn't even recognize each other. At one point, Hap was taken to the Ueno Zoo, stripped naked, and put in the Tiger cage, to be displayed as an animal. Hap said most people will look forward, planning months, even years in advance. These prisoners of war could only focus on getting their next rice ball. If they survived that long, then they would start to think about the next rice ball they would get for a meal. The rice balls were the size of a golf ball, and were usually covered with bugs and dirt. That was all they were given to eat for a meal, and they were lucky if they got 3 meals a day. He told of 36 pilots who were taken prisoner. Each day the Japanese would make 6 of them dig a trench, and the guards were then cut their heads off over the trench. This went on for 6 days until they were all dead.
Even in the midst of this, Hap told of a few

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