Today, December 7th is “pearl harbor day.” On this day, i think back to that fateful day. A day which FDR said was to live in “infamy.” A nation with a third rate armed forces that was bombed into oblivion on the island Oahu.
My father said, that as a boy, he and his family gathered around the radio at his grandmother’s house that Sunday afternoon, wondering where this place they were hearing about, was. Was it on the mainland. Was it on the west coast somewhere. Where the heck was this place, “pearl harbor.”
And then my mind goes back to that Sunday morning, just after sunrise. Soldiers and sailors doing what they do on Sunday mornings: raise the colors, go to church, write their mothers a letter, clean their quarters, report for duty. . . .
I think about the young men, many my son’s age now, or younger, boys really, stationed aboard the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma, who died that day, “may they rest in peace.” They never had a chance as many of them, literally went down with the ship, pounding out morse code on the vessel’s hull to let rescuer’s know that they were still there, and many still remain.
But that was 75 years ago .. .
They loved their country, had parents, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, back home. They were serving their county, when a hail of Japanese bullets and bombs prematurely ended their lives. I am sure many of them did not know or recognize the horror that engulfed them. Some fought back, many could not. Some died trying. They were the most brave among us, the valiant, the dedicated, those with spirit in their hearts doing what they were trained to do.
It was a “sun filled Sunday morning.” The seas in the harbor were calm, the wind was a gentle breeze. Then the skies opened up with the sound that no one could have imagined.
It lasted a little over an hour.
What this day means to me, is a reflection on the value of human life. That human life can end so abruptly for reasons that we can not understand. That a young man can leave his family with only the gunny sack on his shoulders and end up coming back in a box. This is what war is.
We must all reflect on that day and give our thanks in quiet resolution and meditation. I pray for the souls of those who did not make it that day. Not because of who they were, but because of where they were.
Today, most of those who survived, are now gone. But, we must not forget them and what they endured that day.
Dec. 7th will always be a day i will remember and a day that will cause me to have, pause. I give pause to reflect in my own way.
So, when you go about your day, on December 7th, please think about those young men, young adults who were lost that day and what that means to you.