Ms. Tucker Bruun, site owner of the Oryoku Maru Online.
A piece of my heart died when my daddy lost his life on the Oryoku Maru. It is something that is always with me. I have the comfort, though, of knowing what transpired and where his body rests. There are so many people out there who don't know what happened to their loved ones, or to their uncles, cousins, grandfathers, or what they went through. I feel that all of the men who endured, struggled and lived or died aboard those ships were heroes.
I want to convey the feeling that although it may have happened a long time ago those who never returned did not die in vain and will never be forgotten as long as we keep the memory of their heroism and sacrifice alive. They are worth remembering.
My father was Cpc. Othello Christian Bruun (he was promoted to Lt.jg
posthumously). After my parents married, my father took duty in the
orient, and I was born in Olongapo during their first tour of duty. We
went back to the Philippines for a second tour of duty, and my mother,
sister and I were evacuated with all dependents in November of 1940. So,
the last time I saw my father was on the dock in Manila.
I believe he was went from Corregidor, to Cebu, and was captured on
Mindanao in May 1941. He spent time in Davao Penal Colony and then at
Cabanatuan. He was selected to be sent to Japan in 1944, and suffocated
in the hold of the Oryoku Maru, December 15, 1944. We were very
fortunate to receive a visit from a Marine Colonel after the war. He had
been with my father when he died, so we knew what happened to him. Many
relatives of the POWs on the Hell Ships never knew.
My father was awarded the Navy Cross and the Bronze star for his
activities in the opening days if WWII. His picture and story appeared
in the May 1942 issue of Life Magazine - in the Honor Roll section.
I have wonderful happy memories of him, and have always been very proud of him. I have tried to keep his memory alive for his descendants. I
miss him still. I always will.
Currently I am working on transcribing my parents letters and diaries
for my children and grandchildren. My daughter and I have been working on this Oryoku Maru web site. I hope it will be of value to those who are still looking for information about their uncles, cousins, and grandfathers. I am hoping that any survivors and their relatives will find it informative and presented with the deepest respect.
Liliana's reason for wanting to create this site is a little different from her mother's. She goes on to explain, "My mom actually lived through World War II and experienced the tragedy of losing her dad. For me it's different. I only know about World War II from books and what I see it on tv. The reality is not the same for me as it is for her. I didn't know exactly what happened to my grandfather until I was an adult. My mom, usually very open and talkative, would not discuss the topic and I could tell by her demeanor that something really bad had happened. Now that I've read The Oryoku Maru Story I know the truth. I've learned so much and I know what really happened because my mom had a copy of the pamphlet. I want to do something positive and proactive to preserve the tragic record of what all these courageous men went through. They didn't choose to live it, but there were there and they did. I have experience building Web sites. I can create a place on the World Wide Web where this information can be accessible. It's important for it to be accessible to those families who are still seeking information about their loved ones. It's equally important to all the rest of us; it's history and we have to live with it. We have to be sure it never happens again."
Liliana is happily married and has two sons, age 23 and four years old, the youngest whom she homeschools. Her husband served four years in the Navy. Her father served four years in the Air Force. Her son served four years as a United States Marine. Her grandfather, a career Navy man whom she never knew, died on the Oryoku Maru.