by Thomas Pace on September 9, 2015

In October, 1972, in the jungles on Lubang Island in the South Pacific, Kinishichi Kozuka was killed in a firefight with a Filipino military patrol. His death made him, arguably, the last soldier to die in the Second World War.

You see, Kozuko was among the last of what some refer to as Japanese Holdouts or Stragglers. These were soldier that didn’t know about or would not accept Japan’s surrender after the devastation brought to Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

You might remember that there was a Gilligan’s Island episode about this starring Vito Scotti as a Japanese caricature that today would be more suitable for a South Park episode than mainstream family programming.

Kozuka spent twenty-seven years living, hidden in the wilds of the Philippine Island, fighting a guerilla war with, and gathering information on, an enemy that didn’t really exist.

Jump ahead to 2015.

Rowan County, KY, Clerk, Kim Davis (a Democrat, incidentally) is arrested and jailed after she refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, in a blatant and direct violation of a Federal District Court order requiring her to do so.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

The war is over.

Davis is a holdout.

Today, 57% of Americans support gay marriage. That’s an increase of more than twenty percent in the last eleven years.

Conversely, only 39% of Americans oppose gay marriage. That’s a decrease of more than twenty percent in the same span of time.

Perhaps even more relevant is the U. S. Supreme Court Ruling just two months ago that the right to same-sex marriages is guaranteed under the constitution.

It’s not an atomic bomb, but it got the job done.

I’m not trying to suggest that discrimination against the LGBT community is suddenly going to disappear over night after this ruling, any more than discrimination against black people vanished after the Civil Rights Act was made law of the land. Kim Davis is proof that it won’t. And she’s not alone.

Japanese intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda, held out even longer than Kinishichi Kozuka. Onoda was finally convinced that the war was over in 1974, after college student found him, then brought Kozuka’s long retired commanding officer to the island to order him to turn himself in (now if we could just convince some Americans that the Civil War is over).

But like Kinishichi Kozuka and Hiroo Onado, Kim Davis is a holdout.

A straggler.

And while it’s true that right now, in America, there are a lot of holdouts (millions, (tens of millions?)), their time, relevance, and influence is waning. And with a little luck, some time in the not too distant future, hopefully within my lifetime, the only holdouts left will be relegated to their own lonely and remote Pacific islands.

Many times, while in hiding, Kozuka and Onoda found leaflets, dropped over the island from airplanes, bearing the news that the Japanese had surrendered and that they could finally come out of the jungle. And, for decades, they managed to convince themselves that these leaflets were merely lies and propaganda generated by the Allies. They were so deeply invested in their beliefs that they simply couldn’t let go of them.

And then finally, after 27 years of hiding in the tropical jungle and more than two years after fellow holdout Kinishichi Kozuka had been killed in the firefight with the Filipino patrol, Hiroo Onado put his rifle down and, dressed in a somehow immaculately kept uniform, came out of the bush and surrendered his Samurai sword to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

So I guess there’s still hope yet for recently freed Kim Davis. As dug-in as she is, there’s still a chance that she’ll eventually put down her weapons, come out of the cave and join the peace. Perhaps in time, she’ll be able to re-examine what she sees as “propaganda” and manage to convince herself that she doesn’t have to fight this war anymore. Maybe she’ll come around to understand that the enemy she’s fighting doesn’t really exist

The war is over.

And the good guys won.

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