One Man’s Choice 73 Years Ago
Boeing P-26, Lt. Cesar Baza, Philippines, WWII
Lieutenant Cesar Baza, Philippine Army Air Corps (1915 – 12 December 1941)
Richard Fernandez had a very nice Pear Harbor day posting.
[L]iberty is the building block of history; the primitive element of biography. It is perhaps even the building block of reality. Without choice â€” free will â€” everything is mechanical sound and fury. To understand this clearly, recall that today marks the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a moment now on the furthest fringe of living memory. Suppose the significance of that long-ago day consists not in the physical events which occurred, as if the bombs were just rocks tumbling down the hillside of some mountain, but in the things that were chosen that day.
Our telescopes are turned outward seeking Dyson Spheres in the vast reaches of the cosmos for proof of life. Yet I have on my hard drive the picture of a man long ago dead, part of a group of fliers who rose in [horribly obsolete -JDZ] Boeing P-26 Peashooters to challenge Zeros over Batangas province on December 12, 1941. The pilot did not survive the day. In some modern cosmology there is multiverse where he landed safely; just as there is one where all the battleships at Pearl Harbor rode out the day peacefully at anchor. There is a multiverse where America surrendered to Japan. But while those multiverses may exist in potential, the universe we have, through the operation of choice is the one where the flag flies, unvanquished to this day. But that particular today had its price. To purchase it the pilot could not land and the proud warships were forbidden to live out the day.