December 10, 1941

Today we heard that the Japanese had made a landing in northern Luzon! It can’t be true!

Don’t Be DEFEATIST signs were posted throughout the hospital grounds, and in a small way they lulled our fear and suspicion that the enemy had made a landing.

Early in the morning our hospital was thrown into the wildest confusion when word was passed that the enemy was using gas. We rushed for our gas masks only to discover that there weren’t enough to go around. Those without masks were given a cup of soda bicarbonate solution with a small piece of gauze. Useless, no doubt, but one had to do something for those wounded and helpless men. Fortunately, the rumor proved to be false.

This afternoon sixty-six Japanese bombers flew over our heads in perfect formation, and our entire hospital staff rushed out to see them. They looked like giant silver birds. Beautiful and harmless!

Then, suddenly, they started to unload their bombs! Over Cavite Navy Yard, Nichols Field, and Manila Harbor!

“This is another case of Cretel Those G… D… bastards in Washington have betrayed us!”

The army captain who had spoken those words stood beside me watching the bombs fall, and for a moment I felt a nausea and pain at the pit of my stomach.

In a short time the wounded began to arrive, and soon our wards, receiving rooms, operating rooms, as well as the large hospital yard, were filled with the wounded and the dying.

American and Filipino men, both civilian and military, were lying everywhere on the well-kept lawn. Many of them were charred and burned beyond recognition. Blood as crimson as the hibiscus flowers which bloomed in profusion in the yard was scattered everywhere.

Black-robed priests and army chaplains knelt by the dying to comfort and give last rites.

Doctors, nurses and corpsmen worked around the clock.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin