We had a couple of emails from regular readers of Charlie’s blog, which was really kind. I’m sure it will be okay with them to share them here. This one is from a person in the Nagano ski resort camp:
To Gordon and co,
I was living up in Nagano and I just want to say thank you to your son for his work documenting the event on the ground. We were lucky in that we were isolated and safe up in the ski resort, but with the lack of access to information, your son’s blog was our portal into what was happening in the rest of Japan. We are truly sorry for your loss and sincerely wish that we had been able to help him in some way.
Our group have since dispersed, but and everyone has been able to make it back home or to the safety of various camps. Naturally, we are in a very devastated situation, and we have all lost people. We hope you can find solace in these tough times in the fact that hundreds of people relied on him for information, and for a sense of regular contact with someone. We spent a lot of time talking about his blogposts as they unfolded.
Take care and God bless.
We also had one from someone who was living in the castle. Thank you very much for getting in contact with us, and we are really glad to hear that things seem to be heading in a positive direction now.
Dear Mr. McKenzie and family,
My name is Toni and I was staying at the castle your son was promised sanctuary at. I am so terribly sorry for what happened to him and feel that we were wrong to offer hospitality when we shouldn’t have been taking people in. In the end I was one of the people who objected to allowing your son’s group into the castle. If we had not promised him a place to stay, he might not have come up to Mie, and instead used a different port to get to Tomogashima. There are so many ‘what ifs…?’ floating around my head at the moment. In the end, all I can say is that I’m sorry.
I am not proud of a lot of the things that went on at the castle in the name of survival, and don’t think I will ever be able to forgive myself for my part the death of Charlie and others. I am so, so glad that Risa was able to make it to safety alive. Children are so innocent and so crucial for the future, yet they are so delicate and vulnerable. Food was so low at the time, so it’s impossible to know what would have happened had we allowed your son’s group into our midst. I just wish we hadn’t offered that initial welcome, and just dealt with our own problems without imposing on others.
Please accept my condolences, and my humble wish to atone for the mistakes that were made. I have since moved to Tokyo and am doing what I can to help the massive number of children who have been orphaned by this horrific episode.
Love to you and your family,