It’s a difficult thing to discover that, as a nation, with a naval fleet, what you thought was strong, is simply not enough. This was the position that Russia found themselves during the Russo-Japanese War, when the Russian Baltic Fleet is nearly destroyed at the Battle of Tsushima Strait. The defeat was devastatingly decisive. Only 10 of the 45 Russian warships were able to escape to safety. The Russian leaders had to face the fact that further resistance against Japan’s imperial designs for East Asia was hopeless. They could not do it alone.
The Japanese wanted to divide Manchuria and Korea into spheres of influence, but the plan was rejected by the Russians on February 8, 1904, following the Russian rejection of a Japanese plan to Japan launched a surprise naval attack against Port Arthur, a Russian naval base in China. With that attack, the war was on. The Battle of Port Arthur on February 8 and 9, 1904 marked the commencement of the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese, in true Japanese style attacked when all the ships were still in port, but I guess that is how war is. It reminds me of Pearl Harbor, of course. The attack was a surprise night attack by a squadron of Japanese destroyers on the neutral Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, Manchuria. They continued with another attack the following morning. The fighting would continue until May 1904. While the attack on Port Arthur ended inconclusively, the war was without a doubt, a Japanese victory. The Battle of Port Arthur was the first major battle of the 20th century, and the Russian fleet was decimated. During the war that began then, Japan won a series of decisive victories over the Russians, who underestimated the military potential of its non-Western opponent. In January 1905, the continued attacks resulted in the fall of Port Arthur to Japanese naval and ground forces under Admiral Heihachiro Togo, and by March Russian troops were defeated at Shenyang, China, by Japanese Field Marshal Iwao Oyama. Then came the Battle of Tsushima Strait, fought on May 27 and 28, 1905 (May 14 and 15 in the Julian calendar that Russia used at that time) in the Tsushima Strait located between Korea and southern Japan.
While hope seemed lost, Russian Czar Nicholas II still hoped that the Russian Baltic fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky would be able to challenge Admiral Togo’s supremacy at sea. Unfortunately, during the two-day Battle of Tsushima Strait, more than 30 Russian ships were sunk or captured by the superior Japanese warships. Japanese superiority was made abundantly clear. By August, with a stunning string of Japanese victories, Russia became convinced that they would have to accept the peace treaty mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt at Portsmouth, New Hampshire…a treaty that won Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize for this achievement. In the Treaty of Portsmouth, Russia recognized Japan as the dominant power in Korea and gave up Port Arthur, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, and the Liaotung Peninsula to Japan.
Japan emerged from the conflict as the first modern non-Western world power and set its sights on greater imperial expansion. Japan would have to be dealt with another day, and by another power. As for Russia, the military’s disastrous performance in the war sparked the Russian Revolution of 1905.
Our country has been involved in so many wars in its relatively short history, protecting both our freedom and many other countries from the oppression imposed by so many evil dictators and nations. Some people don’t think the United States should be the guardian of the nations, but when push comes to shove, the United States is always the one they call to come in and save them. In all reality, the only countries who wish we would just stay out of things, are the ones who have overstepped their boundaries, and are trying to do evil in the helpless nations they have occupied.
Of course, no military machine can function without the sacrifice in time and lives of people. Military men and women who are willing to make that sacrifice are a rare breed indeed. True, in years past there was a draft, but even then, there were those who volunteered, like my dad and many others. They saw a need, and knew that they had to answer the call to duty.
Over the course of the major wars the United States has been involved in beginning at World War I, we have lost a total of 619,300 men and women. That is an astounding number of people. Fighting evil is a costly business, both in money, and more importantly in the lives we have lost. Nevertheless, if we allow evil to prevail, we are in a far worse position. That is something every soldier knows all too well. It is what brings them to the point of making the decision to serve…to fight, and give their lives if necessary. It isn’t that they don’t know what they are getting into, because they do. They know that as a soldier, they will be taking the ultimate chance with their life, and they know that they may lose their life. And yet they serve. That is the picture of a true hero.
There are those who condemn our soldiers for their sacrifice, those who protest, and scream hate at them, but what they don’t really understand is that their very right to protest, scream, and even hate, comes from the fight our soldiers have waged to protect that very freedom. It is a tough job, and often thankless, but they fight because they can see what is right and what is wrong. It is wrong for anyone to steal the freedoms of another human being, and it is wrong for them to try to force their will on others. Soldiers have the vision to see this, and even when hate is aimed at them, they will fight for the rights of those who hate. Yes, soldiers are a rare breed, and they are heroes. They deserve our respect, and they deserve the honor and respect that this day is all about. Happy Memorial Day!! Be sure to thank a Veteran today.
My cousin, Larry Cameron married his ex-wife, Kim about a year after she had her first child. Her son, Nehemiah was born with Cerebral Palsy. His biological dad was never in the picture, and that is definitely his loss, because Nehemiah is a very special guy. Larry was with Kim for the birth, and is the only dad, Nehemiah has ever known. Larry loved Nehemiah immediately, and after his marriage to Kim, he adopted him. Nehemiah loved Larry as much as Larry loved him too. They were extremely close from the very beginning. Nehemiah, who often goes by Neo, has two siblings…Moira and Conner.
Larry had joined the Army when he was 18 and spent 22 years in the service before retiring. For a time, was stationed in Korea. His kids were with him for a time after his divorce from Kim. Moira and Conner then went to live with their mother again, but Nehemiah stayed there for about 3 years. Nehemiah loved Korea, and wants to go back there to work as a teacher. He is very smart, and he will be an excellent teacher.
Like a lot of people, Neo is quiet until he gets to know you, and then he shows his true fun nature. He is very active. Being in a wheelchair has not slowed him down one bit. There is no obstacle that Neo considers too big. He simply never considers that he might not be able to do something. He simply does it and proves all the naysayers wrong. He hunts, water skis, plays basketball, and races. He is not afraid of any sport. If he decides he wants to play…he simply finds a way. His abilities and determination are inspiring. So many people just accept a disability, then sit down and do nothing, but not Neo. He is more active than a lot of people with no disabilities…maybe we should all take a page from his book and get out there and live life to the fullest. Recently, he went to a Pow Wow with his dad, and a friend from his Rugby team. His grandparents, my cousins, Shirley and Shorty Cameron, met up with them there. They all had a great time. He doesn’t get to visit his grandparents as often as he would like, and when he is there, it is hard for him to get around, so often times he has to be carried from one room to another, but he goes anyway…as often as he can…because he loves them so much, and they feel the same way about Neo.
Neo is a very loving and giving person, but he is also very independent and self reliant. He doesn’t like to have to depend on people to take care of him. That shows very strong spirit. For all of his life so far, Neo has needed someone to drive him around, often his dad, but that is about to change, because Neo is working very hard on getting his drivers license. I have a feeling that Larry, his dad, might find that just a little bit bittersweet. Today is Nehemiah’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Neo!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!
About a year and 4 months ago, while I was researching my family tree, I came across someone else who was researching his family tree, and my Aunt Ruth, my dad’s sister was in that tree. Since his name and his user name were not the same, I contacted him to ask what his relation to my Aunt Ruth was. I was quite surprised to hear that he was my aunt’s grandson, Larry. That was strange too in that my mom had just said that she had wanted to get in touch with Shirley, my Aunt Ruth’s daughter, because she wanted to give her our grandmother’s wedding dress and we had been out of touch with that side of the family since Aunt Ruth’s passing in 1992. This all seemed too amazing to be simply chance. I believe it was a journey the Lord wanted our families to take, and one that would turn out to be a journey we would cherish for the rest of our lives.
Meeting up with Larry in the very near future seemed very unlikely given the fact that he was in the service and stationed in Korea. To further complicate matters, he planned to stay in Korea following his retirement. When Larry retired however, things in Korea had changed. The place he had intended to work, had implemented a hiring freeze. There was no work there for him. Larry and his son, Nehemiah returned to Washington state where his family lives. The job situation there was no better, until a friend suggested that he go to truck driving school. Larry was unsure that he would be able to learn to drive a truck, but with his friend’s encouragement, he went to school and found that this was a perfect fit for him. He loves driving truck.
Yesterday, Larry’s route found him driving through Wyoming. He posted a picture saying that it was a picture of the sunset in Wyoming. I asked where he was in Wyoming, and at the same time his mom was asking the same question. When she found that he was in Casper, she called me and told me. She gave me his phone number, and I called my mom and sister, Cheryl. Within half an hour, mom, Cheryl, her granddaughter, Aleesia, my grandson Caalab, and I were sitting at Perkins, having pie and a great visit with Larry. It was like coming full circle for our families. We had not seen them in 20 years, and yet it felt like just yesterday. The crazy thing about it is that neither Larry, being his family’s photographer, nor I, the one who uses pictures every day to tell the stories I tell on my blog, thought for one minute about taking a picture to commemorate the visit. Can you believe it?? I hope Larry’s route will soon find him in Casper again, and since he has my phone number now, he can let us know ahead of time, so we can have a longer visit, and bring more of the family…and take pictures!!!