Red Beach, July 4th, Guadalcanal

For some reason I thought it’d be great to see as many war sites as I could on the Fourth of July. I dunno — maybe that was a good idea.

Red Beach on Guadalcanal was the Normandy of the Pacific — not in terms of battle ferocity, but in the sense that it was the location where the landing took place that turned the tide of the war. Um, not including Stalingrad I guess.

Actually, Red Beach and Guadalcanal were arguably more important to the Pacific Theater than the Normandy landings on Utah and Omaha Beaches were to the European. The war in Europe was over by the time Normandy happened, nothing left there but to kill, get killed, and win.

Red Beach was the site of the first land invasion by the US in the war. Until Red Beach, US ground troops were entirely untested (the Navy had already fared well at Midway, though less well elsewhere). Most of the Marines who landed on Red Beach (purportedly 90% of them) had joined the service after the attack on Pearl Harbor — only eight months earlier. Guadalcanal is where the US — and, for that matter, Japan and the rest of the world — discovered whether it was a country whose people had a stomach for war.

Fortunately, this video of my walk down Red Beach a couple weeks ago isn’t as heavy-handed as those last three paragraphs. I don’t think.

VIDEO (Quicktime): Red Beach

I know, I should probably start compressing these videos. And stop narrating them.

Robin was a cool kid, although his coolness waned as the day progressed until eventually he got downright petulant when I only gave him S$100 for his time — that’s like a week’s wage there — then finally started begging for more money. Oh well.

Also, in case you care, Robin’s English in the video is a little better than that of most people I met in Honiara — but not necessarily by a lot. It was easy to communicate with people there; their pidgin has enough English in it that eventually American and SIer alike can understand each other pretty well.