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Category: Guest Blog

Donald J. “DJ” Humphrey II Guest Post


Mark Twain once wrote that “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.” Over
the years, I have pondered the truth of Twain’s quote through the example of my father’s life and in the
light of his story. My father was a courageous man, a B-29 pilot, as were many other WWII bomber
pilots, such as Jimmy Stewart, known for his acting career who also ran several bombing missions in Asia
as a WWII bomber pilot.
After a WWII flyover mission in Japanese-occupied Singapore, my father was shot down by the Japanese
Zeros. These planes were created by Mitsubishi company for the Imperial Japanese Navy and could go
at top speeds of 351 MPH, known for their maneuverability and long range capabilities with a kill ratio of
12-1 at the beginning of Japan’s fight with the Allies
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_A6M_Zero) .
Needless to say, the fact my father survived this attack was miraculous in-and-of itself. After escaping
the aircraft, my father managed to successfully hide in the Malayan Jungle. The Malayan Jungle takes
up 50%-70% of Malaysia and is an area known for its dense foliage, poisonous snakes, and many other
large and dangerous creatures. The fact that my father survived not only the crash of his B-29; but also,
an eight-month long stay in such a wild and untamed topography, shows the grace of God and the
fortitude of some men.
Some say courage comes from within. Some say courage is what occurs when we must sink or swim in
light of life’s circumstances. The story of my father’s life and of the lives of the many others like
him—the brave and courageous men of the United States Army Air Force, who accepted the call of duty
and risked their lives on many brave and seemingly impossible missions during WWII, prove that
courage is a combination attribute. After a visit to the National WWII Museum or a review of the
unclassified Army Air Corps WWII records, you realize courage comes from within. However, courage is
often sparked by the elements outside of ourselves, and it leads us to amazing deeds of unfathomable
value.
For my father, and for the many other brave men of the 1940’s who fought and gave so valiantly to
secure the freedoms we have today, courage stemmed from the knowledge that they were fighting to
preserve what they loved the most in this world—their country, their families, and their way of life,
which were worth fighting for. Their courage, and the noble reasons behind it, were quality traits that
truly made them a part of the greatest generation the world has yet to see. In our world, there are many
causes, good and noble, but few actually take up these causes so willingly and with such selflessness as
shown by the men of my father’s generation and the sacrifices they so readily made to protect the
people and the ideals they loved and to preserve their way of life so that future generations could live in
peace and freedom. I hope that, as my father’s story is told for a new generation to hear, they too
decide to live well and with courage and to appreciate and preserve the freedoms we enjoy.

8 Miraculous Months in the Malayan Jungle
A WWII Pilot’s True Story of Faith, Courage, and Survival

Guest Post: Author Lorelai Watson

Only he can save me… but I’m not his to save.

Help me welcome our first guest blogger, Author Lorelai Watson. Lorelai published her first book earlier this year and we are delighted to showcase her on our blog to kick off July. Here is Lorelai’s story about becoming an author.

A Word of Encouragement

People love a good origins story. Whether we’re curious about the humble beginnings of a headline-making entrepreneur, or even our favorite superhero, we often clamor to see the metamorphosis of others. But what is it about origin stories that we love?  For me, I think it’s easier to identify with this person who started out like a regular person just like me. There’s hope in the universal message that we all have the ability to pursue our passions and do something awe-inspiring. 

I have been an author for a whole four months. I am unknown, and far from best-selling or award-winning. But for this shy, generally introverted writer, I find that there’s an edge of cool-ness that accompanies being a published author. In short, people suddenly find you infinitely more interesting than they did before. One of the questions I’ve gotten more than one is this – how did you get started? When did you start writing?

And thus, my origin story as an author begins. I remember rather clearly the day that my second-grade teacher Mrs. Harrison told us that our next assignment in language arts would be to write (wait for it… it’s exciting) our own story. Now, as a teacher, looking back on this, this lesson had no grand hook, bells or whistles to enrapture my attention, as we’re often taught to do in college, but she had my undivided attention. For one, I was already a complete book nerd. I blame my parents. They read to me every night, and gave in to my demands to read the same story a million times over. Now maybe our writing education had not been as complex as it is today, but I honestly think it was the first time it occurred to me that I could write my very own story.

There were no subjects or prompts given, just freedom.

I spent an entire day wondering what to write, looking at the illustrated writing process poster above the wall. I spend an inordinate amount of time staring at the “brainstorming” frame, so much that I could probably redraw the little blonde boy with glasses and a blue sweater, propped up on his desk as he imagined the perfect story. After speaking with a friend who seemed to be making much better progress than me, we started throwing ideas around, and suddenly the story began to unfold in my mind. I worked hard on that story, writing a whole page and a half (this feels big when you’re in second grade) and what ensued was an amazingly plagiarized mashup between ‘The Goonies’ and a Goosebumps book I had read earlier that year.

There is no other way to say it, but writing was – and remains — magical. It found its way straight to my heart and there it has resided for twenty-two years. I imagine it always will. But I think we all know that our passions must be tended to, no matter how deeply rooted they may be. My passion for writing might have been eventually squelched by age or other interests had another form of magic not occurred. I can’t remember why, but my mother picked me up early from school one day, and she walked into my classroom. Mrs. Harrison walked me over and told my mother all about my story. Now this was pretty exciting, and I remember being so proud, but what came out of her mouth next was something that has stuck with me for the rest of life. 

“She’s going to be an author one day.”

That’s it. Simple, not eloquent, but so incredibly life changing. Just a word of encouragement was enough to inspire an eight-year-old girl to keep writing. I was lucky enough to have supportive parents, friends and other teachers who kept giving those words of encouragement throughout my life, and I convinced that without them, I never would have kept writing, much less fulfilled the dream of publishing.

                And so, I leave you with a challenge. Know that your words have power, and seek ways to leave a genuine word of encouragement here and there. You never know how it could change a life. 

Please follow Lorelai Watson on her social media accounts and be sure to click the link below for a free copy of her book from July 1st – 5th.

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/LorelaiWatsonBooks

Twitter: @lorelai_watson

Instagram: LorelaiWatsonBooks

Buy Links (kindle Unlimited)

Amazon US:Ain’t Nothin But The Devil (The Atwood Legacy Book 1)

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2C32gQX

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2TpJ6hX

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2Vw44Jq