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December 10, 1941

This day, I received the biggest scare in all my life. At 12:30 in the afternoon, as I returned to the college, I heard the siren for the first time since the war broke out. I immediately scanned the sky and spotted a formation of 56 high flying Japanese planes. I stood there admiring them. Suddenly I realized I had to turn my thoughts from the aesthetic to the first principle of life – self-preservation. I found my way to the field, as far from the building as possible, as fast as my feet could carry my hide. I made a beautiful swan dive to the ground and stayed flat. Panting, I looked up. Only God could deliver us from the impending ruin and slaughter. If those planes but dropped their nice little eggs on us, Manila would be in shambles in no time. It was one of life’s paradoxes – beautiful silver planes in perfect formation, bringing death and devastation. Fortunately for us, the planes flew by and fulfilled their deadly mission elsewhere. Daring but inexperienced in the science of modern warfare, we were ordered to mount and man our machine guns on top of the buildings. How stupid it all was, come to think of it now.