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Monthly Archives: November 2016

This blog is a Kitsap Sun reader blog. The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them. Reader bloggers are asked to adhere to our reader blog agreement. If you have a concern or would like to start a reader blog of your own, please contact

Tara Ross …The First Thanksgiving

On or around this day in 1621, the Pilgrims enjoy a three-day feast! They are grateful for their harvest after a long, hard first year in the New World.

You already know that the Pilgrims fled England because they feared religious persecution. Their voyage on the Mayflower began in September 1620—and it was a rough one!

“In many of these storms the winds were so fierce, and the seas so high, as they could not bear a knot of sail, but were forced to heave to for many days together,” the future Governor of the colony later wrote. “And in one [mighty storm] . . . a strapping young man (called John Howland) was, with a lurch of the ship thrown into the sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the ropes which hung overboard.”

Howland was pulled back into the boat and survived!

Can you imagine how grateful the Pilgrims must have been when they finally arrived in America? Almost all of them had made it—including a baby born during the journey! Unfortunately, the Pilgrims would not be as fortunate in the year that followed.

They had arrived in the midst of winter: For months, they would face problems on several fronts. How to build shelters? How to get food? How to nurse the many people who were falling ill during the harsh winter months? How to make peace with local Indian tribes? Some of these tasks they accomplished on their own, but they also owed much to an Indian named Squanto. Fortunately for the Pilgrims, Squanto spoke English. (The skill had not come easily for Squanto, who learned the language because he’d spent time in captivity in England.)

By September 1621, only half of the original 102 Pilgrims had survived, but they’d also learned much about how to live in the New World. They owed a debt of gratitude to Squanto, who taught them how to raise crops in the New England soil and climate. They’d also worked out treaties and were living in peace with many of the local Indian tribes.

As the first harvest came in, the Pilgrims were surely happy to enjoy a feast with their new Indian friends. They shared deer, ducks, and turkey. A recently harvested barley crop meant that it would have been possible to (finally) brew beer at about this time!

For many reasons, the feast was welcome after the long, difficult year. But, despite the good meal and happy times, the overall harvest was not as plentiful as you might imagine. Nor was it plentiful the next year. In fact, the Pilgrims were still really struggling until 1623 when their governor, William Bradford, made an interesting decision.

He changed from a communal system of growing crops to a more private one. Each household was given its own private plot of land. In essence, he changed from a socialist-type system to a more capitalist one.

“[T]hey began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could,” Bradford later explained, “and obtain a better crop than they had done. . . . And so assigned to every family a parcel of land . . . . This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been . . . . The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability . . . .”

Historian Nathaniel Philbrick concludes: “The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism.” They still faced struggles in the New World, but they never again faced starvation.

Capitalism! The second half of the Pilgrims’ story, which is rarely discussed these days. Food for thought as you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal. 😉

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2016 by Tara Ross. .


Interned Japanese American, Medal Of Honor Winner

Interned Japanese American ,  Medal of Honor Winner


On this day in 1944, a Japanese-American soldier puts his life on the line. More than 50 years later, Joe M. Nishimoto would finally be awarded the Medal of Honor for his daring and bravery on this day so long ago.

Nishimoto was a “Nisei”—a second-generation Japanese-American. He was fighting for a country that had already interned him once! He’d been sent to a Japanese relocation center back home in America.

When he was finally able to leave the center, he did the unimaginable: He volunteered to serve the country that had just interned him. He joined the U.S. Army.

So many Japanese-Americans were distrusted by their fellow citizens because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And yet they loved their country and fought for her, believing that American ideals of freedom, liberty, and inclusiveness would eventually win the day.

Or maybe some of them just wanted to prove that they were not a part of the evil that took so many lives on that day in December 1941.

In the end, the 442d Regimental Combat Team, an infantry regiment composed almost entirely of Japanese-Americans, would become one of the most decorated regiments in World War II. Twenty-one of its members would earn the Medal of Honor, including Nishimoto.

In mid-October 1944, the 442nd was dispatched to rescue the “Lost Texas Battalion” near the Vosges Mountains in France. It may have been a small miracle that they succeeded, but they did it! Unfortunately, they lost 800 men in their attempt to rescue just over 200 soldiers.

More sacrifices made for a country that was ready to intern them.

In the days following the rescue of the Lost Battalion, the 442nd was tasked with securing even more of the area. Historian C. Douglas Sterner describes the Nisei unit as “pushed beyond any reasonable limits.” For days, they made advances “past the bodies of dead and dying comrades. Each soldier knew it was probably just a matter of time before they met a similar fate.”

Finally, on November 7, Nishimoto had had enough. “The slightly built, mild mannered young infantryman from California,” Sterner describes, “turned into a one-man army.” His actions would break the stalemate that had developed.

First, Nishimoto crawled through a “heavily mined and booby-trapped area,” as his Medal citation describes. Once on the other side, he destroyed an enemy machine gun nest with a grenade. But he wasn’t done yet.

He found a second enemy position and circled it so that he was able to approach it from behind. He attacked it with his submachine gun, killing one enemy combatant and wounding another. When others fled, he pursued them. He killed some and chased others into the forest.

As if that were not enough, he soon found a third machine gun crew and drove them into retreat as well.

Nishimoto survived his one-man battle, but he was killed a week later. He never received the Distinguished Service Cross that he was awarded for these actions. And he never knew that the Cross would be upgraded to a Medal of Honor more than 50 years later.

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Operation Day Of Hope

 OPERATION DAY OF HOPE is this Saturday, November 5th from 9am to 1pm at Gateway Fellowship in Poulsbo. This is a wonderful event for those who can use a hand in any of the following areas:

*Health care screning and foot care
*Hygiene bags, coats and socks
*Family portraits/Photos
*Prayer and Pastorial Care upon request
*Information regarding social service agencies for housing, food,
jobs and much, much more.

The address is 18901 8th Ave NE, Poulsbo
For mor information please call 360-779-5515