U.S.S. George E. Davis DE-357 Destroyer Escort
 

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TOKYO ROSE
An Update

 

Tokyo Rose. Only WWII buffs will recognize the name today. However, during the war and for long after Tokyo Rose was known to everyone in the U.S.

As I'm writing this in 2013 it is more than a decade since the bulk of this site was laid down. It is more than three decades since I taped the conversation with my father.

It is not my intent with this new page to give you a history of Tokyo Rose. You can go look her up. Rather, I'd like to give you a couple of updated thoughts.

About this website. The design of this site is as ancient as the iron age in computer years. Heck, the program it was built on went dinosaur more than ten years ago, my time! Yet, it is still functional and carrying on the work that was intended admirably.

When the Morrison Audio was taped, and it was taped on one of the first portable cassette players, he was obviously still alive. He still had about ten years of life in him at the time. At the time I thought I knew him. Honestly, my first real insights of the man probably started ten years after his death. It was only as I myself began to approach his age at the time of the conversation that dimly, I could begin to identify better with the old man. I suppose this is just nature at work. It's a lucky boy or girl that is really able to know their father while he is still alive.

My father was and still is something of an enigma to me. He was coarse, complex, witty, crass. All that stuff. A local legend in his own time. He was one you could definitely point at and say when he was born that the mold was broken. He was a one of a kind.

My father lived three lifetimes. The one before the war, during the war, and after the war. I will always believe that even though he was in his early thirties during his time aboard the Davis, this is where he actually grew up. His experience there shaped the rest of his life. Whereas he never dwelled on it afterwards, that "shining harbor" was one of the last things he dreamed of before his lights twinkled out.

As for Mr. Morrison and the war... During the taping all I knew of WWII was pretty much what I learned in the old war movies, plus a smattering of historical research.

At the time of the interview, however, I got the the notion that he bore no ill will (unlike the war movies) against the Japanese. He wasn't on a mission. Today I believe that more deeply than ever. To him, it was simply a job to be performed. Particularly by the time of our chat, in a way, I suppose he felt a certain kinship with his foe. Of course he always maintained that the Japanese were barbaric and treacherous, (He said our side could be that way too!) but in the final analysis, I think he thought they were just doing their job as well. He never spoke of them with malice. (At the time, that was a puzzlement to me.)

On September 26, 2013 shortly after 9AM Central Time, Glenn Beck turned on a very special microphone that he had acquired. His staff had replaced the power cord the evening before, but following his directions, they did not test it. He did not know if it would work after 70 years in storage. Thankfully, it did!

The story goes that a naval officer ransacked the studio of Tokyo Rose, ripped out her microphone and burned the place to the ground. Somehow, some way, Beck begged or bought the microphone and fired it up for the first time since WWII on his Thursday show. The video is below. The content belongs to Glenn Beck. I recorded it for this page. He's big into saving history, you see. So Glenn, I saved it. If I have broken some kind of copyright law, it's your own fault! Don't sue me please. (If this is far into the future and you don't know who Glenn Beck is...go look him up. Ha!)

This video is important to me because it closes a circle. You see, my father and the other guys aboard the Mighty George E. Davis would have heard the broadcasts of this woman. She would have been using the microphone you will see in the video. How rarely we get to make connections like this. I can only wonder what my father would have thought about this video and the revelation that Tokyo Rose wasn't who he and we (who know about her) thought she was. I'm betting he would take a bit of convincing...but not too much. I think in the end he would have been amused with the whole thing.

I confess that I had my kids in mind when I built this website. A way to know their family history. But they aren't very interested. Perhaps their kids will be. Or their kids. Those old guys who are now mostly gone, who paved the way for us to be alive won't truly be forgotten until the last person forgets.

When I began this project the prospects of my own lights dimming seemed distant. Now, it is closer. As I am getting nearer to my own shining harbor, I especially don't want for the new folks to forget the old. Thanks to the dozens of shipmates and shipmates once and twice removed that have contacted me over the years!  

Norman Morrison
September 2013

 

 

  

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