A pacific discovery, a Pacific Theater, a pure wonder

As I sat in my garden on September 25 by the dawn’s early light, it came to me that it was exactly 500 years ago that Vasco Nunez de Balboa on September 25, 1513, climbed to the top of Panama’s Darien Heights and gazed out in unbelieving wonderment on a great ocean. He was the first European to behold the sight and is thus recorded in history as the Discoverer of the Pacific.

What a stage it would become in the Second World War, my countrymen: From Isoroku Yamamoto’s infamous destruction of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 194l, to September 2, 1945 when polite high-hatted Japanese diplomats came aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor to sign surrender papers and pay obeisance to Five Star Emperor Douglas MacArthur.

September 25, 1513. Five hundred years ago. Balboa’s Pacific Ocean! Despite unmeasured, immeasurable torrents of red blood spilled into its white caps during four long years of war, it’s still the same wide blue ocean that Balboa saw 500 years ago. Red, white and blue. Life goes on.

Don Woodard Fort Worth