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Only one foreign pilot has ever bombed the U.S. mainland. His redemption arc is epic.

An Oregon town he tried to destroy in WWII even made him an honorary citizen.

Courtesy of Chetco County Community Library

Nobuo Fujita was a Japanese naval pilot in WWII.

About 16 miles east of Brookings, Oregon, stands a unique coastal redwood tree. It has been growing there since 1992, when the Japanese pilot who had dropped bombs on that very spot 50 years before planted it with his own hands.

Nobuo Fujita remains to this day the only foreign pilot to ever bomb the U.S. mainland. On September 9, 1942, Fujita flew a seaplane, launched from a floating catapult on a Japanese submarine in the Pacific, over the woodlands of southern Oregon. Along with the 30-year-old pilot and the bombs he was ordered to drop, the aircraft also carried a 400-year-old samurai sword—a prized family heirloom Fujita took with him on every flight.

Fujita was a bit disappointed with this bombing mission. He had wanted to bomb San Francisco or Los Angeles to take revenge on the U.S. for dropping bombs on targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya and Kobe in the Doolittle Raid just a few months before. Instead, this mission was to use incendary bombs to start a forest fire that would engulf nearby towns like Brookings, divert resources and instill terror into the hearts of U.S. citizens.

But as anyone who has gone camping on the Oregon Coast can attest, starting a fire there isn't easy, especially just after it has rained. The bombs Fujita deployed basically fizzled after hitting the ground, only starting small fires and creating enough smoke for the forest service to see them and act quickly to snuff them out.

Fujita returned home to train other pilots, and three years later, World War II ended after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

War and forgiveness make strange bedfellows, but they always seem to find one another eventually. And for Fujita and the town of Brookings, "eventually" came in a fairly swift and dramatic fashion.

In 1962, less than 20 years after the war ended, a group of Jaycees in Brookings had the idea to invite Fujita and his family to be an honored guest at the town's Azalea Festival as an act of goodwill and reconciliation. Not everyone was thrilled with this idea, however. Townspeople argued bitterly over it. Over 100 residents signed onto an op-ed opposing the idea, which read in part, "Why stop with Fujita? Why not assemble the ashes of Judas Iscariot, the corpse of Atilla the Hun, a shovel full of dirt from the spot where Hitler died…." For many, it probably have felt too soon, especially since many of the town's citizens had fought in the war.

But the Jaycees were undeterred and admant that it was the right thing to do.

For his part, Fujita was worried he might be attacked, pelted with eggs or even put on trial for war crimes after he arrived, and he was prepared to end his life with his samurai sword if it came down to it. Instead, the day after he and his wife and son arrived in Brookings and found a warm welcome, Fujita presented his precious family heirloom to the city as a peace offering.

nobuo fujita presenting samurai sword to town of Brookings, Oregon

Nobuo Fujita gifted Brookings, Oregon, his family's 400-year-old samurai sword as a peace offering.

Photo courtesy of Chetco County Community Library

Brenda Jacques, a retired reference librarian, told Oregon Public Broadcasting about the significance of that Fujita giving the city his sword. "Would I be able to give something that had been that important to my family away?" she said. "It was a tremendous act of contrition."

Fujita was presented with a key to the city and was given the opportunity to fly a plane over the bombing site. But the mutual goodwill didn't end there.

Nobuo and Akayo Fujita

Nobuo Fujita and his wife Akayo standing in front of an azalea bush in Oregon

Photo courtesy of Chetco County Community Library

Fujita would spend the rest of his life nurturing a friendship with the Oregon town he had once tried to burn to the ground. He and his employees donated thousands of dollars for a multicultural book collection at the Chetco County Community Public Library in Brookings. He organized a group of high school students to come to Japan for a cultural exchange.

In 1992, Fujita returned to Brookings and planted the coastal redwood tree—which he called "a symbol of friendship and peace"—where he had dropped bombs five decades before.

Just a few days before his death in 1997, the city of Brookings made Nobuo Fujita an honorary citizen.

The following year, his daughter came to fulfill his last request—to have some of his ashes buried at the bombing site.

Nobuo Fujita's story is a moving reminder that the people charged with killing and terrorizing one another in wartime are never truly enemies, and that we all have the potential to be peacemakers if we choose to.

And hopefully, stories like this one will help humanity learn to avoid the war part altogether and jump straight to the goodwill and sharing of friendship across cultures part that we all love to see.

For the first time in 38 years, an eclipse is going to hit the lower 48 states. People. Are. Getting. Hyped.

The eclipse will occur on Monday, Aug. 21, and pass over 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina.

[rebelmouse-image 19474144 dam="1" original_size="750x493" caption="Image from NASA/Goddard/SVS/Ernie Wright." expand=1]Image from NASA/Goddard/SVS/Ernie Wright.

Though there's a solar eclipse every 18 months, a total solar eclipse crossing the continental United States in such a perfect line is rare — in fact, it hasn't happened since 1918, though we'll get another chance in 2024.  The Atlantic has even pegged this as the greatest human migration to see a natural event in U.S. history.

It makes sense that people are making hay while the sun shines — or doesn't shine, as it were. Such a momentous, gigantic, joyous, literally astronomical event is expected to draw out millions of science-loving humans.

Check out a few of the most delightful, surprising, creative, and flat-out fun ways people are preparing to celebrate the occasion.

Some are throwing parties. Huge parties. We're talking religious-festival-with-15,000-people-sized parties.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky, will have one of the best views of the eclipse in the nation — so it's throwing a three-day festival called Solquest. Dedicated to witnessing "God's glory and his majesty," organizers are planning for live music, speakers, and prayer.

Meanwhile, Hopkinsville local Griffin Moore is stocking up her studio with plenty of solar-themed merch.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Her shop is one of many in town getting ready to capitalize on a giant influx of tourists.

Of course, no eclipse shindig would be complete without some custom, solar-themed hooch.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Married duo A.J. Casey Jones and Peg Hays have cooked up some Total Eclipse Moonshine in commemoration of the event. They forecast that 3,500 people will show up at their business, the Casey Jones Distillery.

Meanwhile, the local Singing Fork Baptist Church got some cheeky advertising ideas out of the event.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

And eclipse glasses are suddenly the must-have fashion accessory of the season.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Don't worry if you can't find any (and if you do, make sure they're legit) — there are still plenty of ways to safely watch, like building your own old-school pinhole projector.

NASA's just as keen on watching the eclipse as everyone else, though their equipment's a bit more ... sophisticated.

Photo from NASA's Johnson Space Center/Norah Moran.

The legendary aeronautics agency will use jets to chase the eclipse, stretching the two-and-a-half-minute event into a lengthy seven minutes. Their cameras will record images of the sun's corona, or outer atmosphere.

Over in Montana, they'll be celebrating by releasing giant bacteria-laden balloons into the atmosphere.

[rebelmouse-image 19474151 dam="1" original_size="750x499" caption="Photo from Montana State University." expand=1]Photo from Montana State University.

Researchers at Montana State University have teamed up with NASA to launch some sky-high experiments. NASA's funding a total of 11 different science projects across the nation.

Astrologers, meanwhile, say the eclipse could foretell big things for President Trump, although they were light on specifics.

Zookeepers in Omaha are going to find out whether their giraffes know more about eclipses than they do.

A dog in England during the 2015 eclipse. Photo from Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images.

From bees to chickens, animals sometimes act a little wacky when the sky goes dark. During past eclipses, people have reported that birds stopped singing. Elephants headed for their sleeping areas. Chimpanzees stared confusedly at the sky.

So zoos and aquariums in the path of totality, including the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, will be keeping an eye on their animals.

And in the West, Oregon's already experiencing some ridiculous traffic jams.

People aren't just traveling by car either. 63-year-old Gary Parkerson of Louisiana is planning to bike all the way up to Nashville in order to get the very best views.

And plenty of people are taking their solar viewing party to the great outdoors. Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is predicting their busiest day ever.

The eclipse will cross over 21 different national parks. They're all sure to be packed.

All over the United States, scientists and the faithful, zookeepers and wild beasts, hooch-makers and police officers are coming together for a once-in-a-lifetime (OK, maybe twice-in-a-lifetime) historic event.

Listen, it's been a hard week. Hard year, really. But this is going to be really special and it's cool to see people getting hyped up. So get hyped up too. This is going to be awesome.

On Aug. 9, Oregon became the fifth state to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

Oregon has been at the forefront of tobacco cessation and prevention programs for more than 20 years. A 1996 voter-approved tobacco taxation and prevention initiative has prevented an estimated 31,000 Oregon children from picking up the habit, and cigarette use has declined by more than 50% in the state.

The latest tobacco bill, signed by Governor Kate Brown, will continue to build on these efforts, prohibiting the sale and use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products to people under the age of 21.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Oregon joins California, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Maine, and New Jersey in raising the legal age for tobacco use to 21.

Like Oregon, Maine and New Jersey raised the tobacco age to 21 this summer. The Maine legislature successfully overrode the veto of Governor Paul LePage to turn the bill into law on Aug. 2. While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the bipartisan bill July 21.

In a statement, Christie cited his mother's death from the effects of smoking and hoped the measure would keep young people from ever starting the addictive habit.

"By raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, we are giving young people more time to develop a maturity and better understanding of how dangerous smoking can be and that it is better to not start smoking in the first place,” he wrote.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images.

While only five states and D.C. have raised the tobacco age so far, many cities and states are considering the measure.

After nearly 10 years of trying, a bill in Texas to raise the tobacco age has bipartisan support and positive momentum. Efforts in Utah, Massachusetts, and Washington state are similarly underway after several fits and starts.

Since statewide measures are time consuming and difficult, 200 cities and towns have taken the step to raise the tobacco age on their own, including Chicago, New York City, Kansas City, and Boston.

Photo by Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images.

Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000, or 1 in 5, deaths in the U.S. each year.

Measures like these are truly a matter of life and death. Smoking causes a majority of the cases of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and it significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancer. It can affect fertility and smoking, while pregnant can result in stillbirth or low birth weight.

Each day, more than 3,200 people under 18 try their first cigarette. If current patterns persist, 5.6 million Americans currently under the age of 18 will ultimately die from a smoking-related illness.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Something has got to give.

Since 99% of smokers have their first cigarette by 26, (90% before 18), raising the legal tobacco age is an important step toward keeping the next generation healthy and tobacco-free.

Hawaii, California, Maine, New Jersey, and Oregon are leading the way. Make sure your city government and state legislature are working to join them.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

Several Oregon Republicans just joined the state's Senate Democrats to pass a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage to undocumented children.

[rebelmouse-image 19473921 dam="1" original_size="700x364" caption="Photo by M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Photo by M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia Commons.

The "cover all kids" bill was approved on July 3, 2017, in a 21-8 vote.

"We could get wrapped up in sanctuary this, sanctuary that. We could get wrapped up with immigration this or immigration that," Sen. Jeff Kruse told KGW-Portland. "This is not about the optics or the politics. This is about health care at a reasonable cost."

Four GOP senators voted for the measure, bucking the majority of their colleagues, who opposed it.

The bill now moves to the majority-Democratic statehouse, where it's expected to pass.

The proposed law would make up to 17,000 Oregonian children brought to the United States by their parents eligible for the program.

The bill's proponents claim the measure will lower costs by limiting expensive emergency room visits.

Groups like the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, which has been advocating the measure for years, believe the law will markedly improve health outcomes, leading to better educational attainment and economic benefits for the state.

While U.S. Senate Republicans continue to consider health care bill that would strip coverage from millions, some state and local GOP officials are working to preserve or expand coverage gains.

On June 30, Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill that would freeze enrollment in the state's Medicaid program, which was expanded under the Affordable Care Act.

John Kasich. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Kasich additionally joined with two fellow Republicans, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Barker, and four Democratic governors to oppose the Republican-penned health care bill pending in the Senate.

The national debate over how to structure health coverage, and who should benefit, is far from over.

In 2016, California proposed a measure allowing undocumented immigrants to purchase coverage on the state's Affordable Care Act exchange.

A  2014 poll found that a majority of in-state voters were in favor of the expansion while a September 2016 Rasmussen Reports poll found that nearly 60% of voters nationwide opposed it.

For now, in one state at least, a few Republican elected officials are putting the health of kids above politics — and their own careers.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"I will look at folks with anger in their eyes and they will not listen to the answer that it is less expensive," state Senate minority leader Ted Ferrioli told KGW-Portland.

He voted for it anyway.