Charles Thomas Parsons Jr. was born in 1900 in Shelbyville, Tennessee, but his family moved frequently to avoid creditors. When young Charles was 5, his mother sent him to Manila for a more stable life with her brother, a public health official in the American-run government. The boy received his elementary education speaking Spanish at the Santa Potenciana School, a Catholic school founded in the 16th century.
On January 2, 1942, the Japanese Army marched into Manila unopposed.
Parsons retreated—only so far as his house on Dewey Boulevard, where he burned his uniforms and any other evidence that he was…
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