Terry: The Inspiring Story Of A Little Girl'S Survival As A Pow During Wwii
- Publish Date: 2012-11-06
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Terry Wadsworth Warne
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Terry's father, Norris Wadsworth, was sent to help start a pineapple plantation and cannery on a new frontier in the Philippines. While the rich, dark soil produced golden fruit, the Wadsworths and other families built their homes on a remote plateau at the edge of the jungle. The compound was eventually called, Del Monte, a namesake to their company. The tropical oasis with a 9 hole golf course and even a grass airstrip became a popular destination for many government and military dignitaries. As a young child, Terry's days were full of happiness and adventure. Life, like the growing pineapple, was sweet. She had a little pony, attended a small school, and enjoyed playing with the other young Del Monte children. The only threats to her edenic life were occasional cobra and python snakes found around, and sometimes even in, their home. That is, until a much fiercer enemy struck 5000 miles away at Pearl Harbor. Within hours of the surprise attack in Hawaii, the Japanese military launched a similar assault on the Philippine islands and began their campaign to overtake the American Protectorate. Just before the war started the Del Monte management had helped the U.S. Army Air Corps build an airbase with two long, grassy runways nearby. Soon, the peaceful skies above their paradisiacal home were swarming with military war machines. Terry and her family found themselves on the dangerous battle front. General Douglas MacArthur, Philippine President Manuel Quezon and their families, plus many other important people hid from the Japanese in Terry's remote home as they waited to secretly fly from Del Monte to Australia. As the fighting intensified, Terry's family abandoned Del Monte to hide in the dense, mountain jungle and wait for an opportunity to also escape to Australia. While the families were in hiding, Del Monte itself became a target of the Japanese military. Bombs and shells rained down, on the homes, cannery, and airfield. Eventually the Japanese pushed the American forces into retreat. Terry and her family found themselves with only one option. Surrender! As they surrendered to the Japanese, Terry's father counseled her, Live each day to the best of your ability. Do not get caught up looking so far ahead that, worrying about the future, you get discouraged and lose hope. The advice served her well, as the next three years of her interment as a prisoner of war were full of hardship and suffering. Though stripped of her possessions and freedom, Terry was grateful to be alive and to be with her parents. Together, the family hovered on the brink of starvation, battling deadly infections and disease, and eluding death at the hands of their captors. Yet, despite these conditions, they found purpose in living a meaningful life. Each prisoner had a job to perform and holidays were still observed, even if it meant singing Christmas carols in the hold of a rat infested cargo ship or feasting on wormy prunes for Thanksgiving. Terry's unconquerable spirit, as an eight to eleven year old prisoner of war, is a reminder that even in the most deplorable circumstances, life is what you make of it. Meanwhile, General McArthur and the United States military returned to take back the Philippines from Japan. Military leaders learned of a Japanese plan to execute all prisoners of war before they could be freed. A special American military unit was charged with the dangerous assignment to pass behind enemy lines, 70 miles deep into Japanese territory, and liberate the prisoners. Terry's life and the lives of thousands of other men, women, and children depended on the success of this miraculous rescue mission!
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