Did you forget what today was? I almost did, only because I didn’t know the date today. Moving and getting settled in has a tendency to blend days together.
Today, as you probably know, is the day that will live in infamy, a day where almost 2,000 people, consisting mostly of sailors in our Navy, lost their lives.
Unless someone specifically asks me to do so, I’ll spare everyone the history since we all know it. Speaking though, as a Navy wife, I can’t even begin to imagine what the wives of those sailors, and the mothers, children, fathers, siblings, and other loved ones felt as they heard the unspeakable horrors of that day, some watching it unfold, completely helpless. I can’t begin to think about the devastation they went through as they watched the telegrams come to inform them of their loss.
From the time I was a freshman until two months after I graduated high school, I worked at the Spokane Veteran’s Nursing Home and had the privilege of meeting two Pearl Harbor survivors. Both were on land when it happened. One of the men, Jim, was only eighteen when it happened. He had gone ashore before the attack happened, and when the planes started dropping their bombs, he looked on in shock as his shipmates, some of them his friends, perished aboard the flaming ships. He was supposed to be on one of them (I believe it was the Oklahoma, but I don’t remember). His brother Bill was there temporarily but shortly after was stationed in Germany. He was there to witness the aftermath. Both brothers survived to tell their tale to me. I still have a picture Jim gave me from when he was an eighteen year old sailor. He passed away in 2008, according to an intern at the nursing home who I remained friends with for a while, but it was such a privilege to have known him as long as I did. I gave him my senior year picture and he put it up on his shelf. Aside from his brother who was his roommate at the nursing home and his son who could only visit him once in a while, he didn’t have a lot of family left. One thing he said to me that still makes me smile was shortly before I left for Washington State University. He said, “If I was still that eighteen year old sailor, I would have been chasing after you.”
Anyway, I just remember how they would tell me their stories of this day, and how the other veterans at the nursing home told me. They all talked about it like they had just experienced it yesterday. Even those who were having difficulty with their memories could remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when that happened. Sadly, many of the men and women of this Greatest Generation have passed away, and most of whom remain to have witnessed this event with their own eyes and ears were children when it happened. When they are gone, there will be no one as living witnesses to this tragedy. So it’s up to us, those of us who have heard their stories ourselves, to continue to tell their tale to our children, to our children’s children, so they can continue to tell it to their children and so forth, so it is never forgotten. God bless the Pearl Harbor survivors who are still around. May the ones who are no longer here rest peacefully in the comforts of Heaven and always be remembered. Never forget the day that Hawaiian paradise island was turned into hell on earth.
I’m going to go hug my sailor now