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There has never been any doubt on my mind of how much that day in December 7, 1941 has affected my life and memories. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese air force of its Impiral Military launched a surprise air attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.

Tomorrow, December 7, 2013 we again come to that day when we pay our solemn and dignified respect to those who lost their lives in that battle and the one that followed in World War II for survival of this nation and the United States of America. Most importantly we saulte those who lived to tell their stories for the generations that have followed so that we never forget.

Tomorrow I will do just that in person.

Those who lived to tell their stories about Pearl Harbor and World War II must never only include those in physical presence of the attack, but also those who remember the day so they can pass on the legacy of the tragedy to those who were not yet alive so that the memory lingers and never dies. This is why I write on the subject today.

The surprise attack on our soil that day changed the way of the future security of this country which I believe transformed it into the greatest military power in the world today. I sometimes wonder if we now possess just too much power. What I most wonder at times is whether those living today will see another phenomena as I recall the Pearl Harbor attack on this nation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's opening statement on "Day of Infamy" Speech

To the Congress of the United States:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
This morning Friday I recieved a visit from an unexpected guest -- a long time neighbor.

My long time neighborly friend lives down the block from my house. During the summer days he usually comes over to exchange gossip and so forth and at times we borrow tools for our gardens.

I always knew that he had been in the army as a young man but he always spoke of jokes he lived through after World War II and the military bases he was on that played a role in the war. He never mentioned the Pearl Harbor attack. I never asked because actually I was a small child then myself and he is only about 5 years older then me. That made him to be around 10 so I knew he was never involved or was there.

Martin is 82 years old. I fixed both of us some coffee and sat in the living room to chat with my friend. I was expecting the summer gossip and some of his jokes on this cold Wisconsin day. Martin has that gift to make conversations as livid as if I were actually watching what he describes in person.

At times he has told me stories of the close friendships he developed with his fellow warriors during his stint in the army. He gave me close mental encounters of how some of his friends had family who spoke to hm of members slain in World War II in the jungles of Guadalcanal — the largest of the Solomon Islands and the site of the Allies’ first, pivotal offensive in the Pacific during World War II following Pearl Harbor.

These and personal reasons he has told me, is why he joined the military. So we never have to live or repeat history of those brutal wars. But he never mentioned Pearl Harbor and I remined him of tomorrow. It is when he said he had no jokes this day.

He came to invite me to join him to pay homage and respect to some of his old friends who lay with damaged body wounds suffered in that and other wars this country has fought near by at the U.S. Military Veterans Hospital a few blocks away.

The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center is located about one mile from where I sit. So when he asked me to join him my ears popped-up like the jack rabbits I have seen when they are surprised by an intruder.

But my friend was no intruder.

I have written here on occasions of my daughter working at this hospital for many years now.

She is my personal nurse here at home and has ordered me to stay in-doors and away from the cold as much as possible because she knows that I have a metal knee as a result of a knee-replacement surgery of long ago. The cold weather is a killer for my knee each winter here in Milwaukee and she knows it and fears the killer pain may reach my now damaged heart.

I am a very stubborn man with dogged determination when I feel that some issue needs to be determined and met. My daughter knows that better than anyone too.

So I have accepted Martin`s invitation.

He said that he invited me so that I could ask a warrior laying in a bed why veterans of World War II and Pearl Harbor have such difficulty of speaking in public about the horrors they have lived through on the battle fields in those wars they have engaged, and not only World War II but I have seen Viet Nam veterans have this silence as well.

I had previously mentioned this mystery to him. He said this would be my chance to ask.

This Friday morning December 6, 2013 the weather is cold. Seven degrees when I checked
to see how much protection I would need tomorrow when I step out into the cold.

I will make sure my daughter does not know I broke her medical rule...Just this time and I hope and try to hide from her because I know she will be there. Its her job to be there.

On the other hand I feel that she should be proud of her Dad. A bum knee will never match the sufferings that I will see. I know that my daughter has personally seen worst pain that I claim to have ever suffered on my knee. I hope I see her there.

I have six boxes of chocolates that I asked my granddaughter to get for me. Maybe I can sweeten up and ask some warrior why they are so silent even as they suffer the pains of war. I want to spend some time with these folks to talk about Pearl Harbor and World War II.

I still remember being jarred awoke by the screams of my back yard neighbor when I thought I was dreaming. The shock of that horrible incident made me write here that I was dreaming. I was not. I was witnessing as a child what Pearl Harbor would bring to our country.

I will never forget.

Originally posted to Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  my step-grandfather (11+ / 0-)

    had just left Hawaii, and was due to be discharged from the Army 12/11/41. But thanks to the Empire of Japan, Uncle Sam decided that it was best he remain in the Pacific for four more years.

    He survived the landings an Attu, Kwajelein and Leyte Gulf. Wish i'd asked mor questions about his experiences when he was still around.

    My Mother in Law was living in Manila when the war started and got to see her home invaded twice, 41/42 and 44/45. Part of me would like to ask and part of me figures that she might not be keen to relate those memories.

    •  toxin I am glad (6+ / 0-)

      you have joined us here at Daily Kos. Especially on this day.

      Your comment reminds me of wise words written to me by a friend here on the site. Not exactly as I write them here, but very close and true:

      "When we realize that we wanted to ask our ancestors some important questions -- it is too late for they are no longer around."

      I am very sorry for your Mother-in-Law having been invaded twice. It was that type of situation back then.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 11:40:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  At worst, if you ask politely and leave (7+ / 0-)

      her an out, she can tell you if she doesn't want to talk about it.

      Sometimes, people will open up to a relative stranger.  Ed, my brother-in-law's father was a Colonel in Vietnam who would never talk about his war experiences.  Until my husband (an in-law and bare acquaintance) asked one day at a crab picking, and Ed talked for more than an hour about Viet Nam, what he did, where he served, and what it was like when one of his fire bases was overrun.  My brother-in-law listened in astonishment, and that afternoon heard more from his dad than he ever did before.

      I'd have thought that was lightning striking.  But he did it again, with our tenant's mother, who lived in Berlin during WWII and made it through the Russian forces and into the American zone dressed as a boy.  She had never talked about Germany to her children, but my husband asked a single question and the stories came tumbling out.

      The fact is, (not always, but) sometimes, just sometimes, people want their stories remembered.

      "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

      by DrLori on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:09:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  DrLori I sometimes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        robing1151, kurt, RiveroftheWest

        think that the traumatic impacts of the horrors servicemen and women experienced in those conflicts are buried so deep in their consciousness that they ache when they remember, thus I think that their minds surpress the willingness to talk about them.

        I remember a man that came back from World War II where he served in battle ships while in the Navy. Even in the Navy I am today amazed at how I remember this man`s shell-shocked brain as he screamed in his sleep as his mother used to say. Screaming as if a torpedo was approaching as the many he obviously saw coming at his ship. Shell-shocked brains, I have to imagine must cause some horrific war experiences to ingrain and establish itself for a prolong period of time on a person.

        This man never talked about his experiences and he lived just a few houses where I grew up. Yes, I think it must have been hell, as I have often heard those years described.

        Old men tell same old stories

        by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:38:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The three most important words are not (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, macamma, worldlotus

        "I love you."

        They are: "I SEE you."   In all your individual glory.

        Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

        by nolagrl on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:57:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tipped because my father had a very similar (5+ / 0-)

      experience.  He was 'stop-lossed' (as it's called these days) on the verge of getting out in January 1942 and was in the Attu campaign.  Later in his life we were able to talk about that experience, including the Massacre Bay attack where he was one of those 'rear echelon' troops fighting hand to hand with Japanese soldiers in the final banzai charge that essentially ended the Battle of Attu...

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

      by Jack K on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 08:58:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ask. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, RiveroftheWest, worldlotus

      A women who's been through so much isn't  a frail flower. She may think no one is interested in the real experience.

      I did my doctoral dissertation on how John Ford's films shape how we remember Pearl Harbor.  UMI has it.

      Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

      by nolagrl on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:55:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I lived on Guam (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As a young teenager in a rental house in the village of Dededo, I spent a lot of time at various neighbors' houses. I was introduced to cockfighting at one place, how to grate a cocoanut at another house, and directly across the street was a grandmother who told me tales of the Japanese occupation.  It was a horrendous time. These American citizens came through it and still celebrate Liberation Day every summer with a parade and all sorts of parties.

      Isn't it time they were allowed to vote?

      Courtesy is owed. Respect is earned. Love is given. (Unknown author, found in Guide to Texas Etiquette by Kinky Friedman)

      by marykmusic on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:00:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •   My younger sister was orn in Manila and we (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, fgentile

      returned home on the last boat bringing military dependents before Pearl Harbor. My father was taken prisoner at Corregidor, was in part of the Bataan Death March, and spent the rest of the war in some of the worst Japanese camps. He was one of the few survivors of those 3 ships that we bombed (because the Japanese hadn't put the Red Cross on them).

      I've always wondered though, how they can claim that they didn't expect an attack, when we were shipped home in April (last ship, remember) and the attack didn't come till December. I guess I'll die with that mystery, but I hope records will be opened for my grandchildren to learn from.

  •  Thank FDR's aides for the war in the pacific (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We supplied Japan with 80% of its oil, most of its iron, steel and rubber, and had a very profitable relationship with them. Then, without FDR's knowledge or permission, the oil was cut. FDR had no choice but to accept this move in public and support it.

    The Dutch Indies were the logical next step for Japan. A resource rich, poorly defended region was there for the taking. But the wasp that could sting had to be dealt with first - the US armada in Hawaii.

    There was one aide in particular, but I can't recall his name. His position would have been familiar to today's neocons and TeaBuggerers. War War, rather than Jaw Jaw.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:22:22 AM PST

    •  i've always thought they misread us badly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, Calamity Jean

      i don't think we'd have gone to war with them had they only attacked British/French/Dutch possessions. We were apparently comfortable with letting Hitler take Europe which we had much closer ties to.

    •  By this time the Japanese has already invaded (7+ / 0-)

      or seized control of Korea, Manchuria, China, and northern Vietnam, and murdered 250,000 civilians in cold blood in Nanking.  But yeah, I guess it's too bad they cut off their oil...

      •  Thanks to Commander Perry? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        After a long time of relavite isolation, commander Perry woke up Japan to the fact that they were the only nation in all of asia that was still independent, as in "not a colony or zone of interest".

        They then decided that they would do whatever necessary to not become just another western colony. That desire clearly went overboard. But the times were difficult. And the US weren't exactly playing nice, despite Japan liking the US a lot, originally.

        God, history is complicated ...

        "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

        by mythatsme on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:39:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, history is complicated...but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          207wickedgood, kurt, PrahaPartizan

          It's also pretty simple to see that from 1925-1945 the Japanese were the bad guys.  It's really that simple.

          •  Yeah. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Uh huh. Talk to navy commanders who hated the policy. They viewed the army as crazy neocons and teabaggers. The army pretty much arrested the emperor, took over govt., and forced war on the country.

            Our neocons and teabaggers pose the same risk to the world and to us.

            Would you use such a broad brush if our  bushes had succeeded with an Iranian invasion. Perhaps Russia next? Then China?

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:32:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But Lacked the Courage to Confront (0+ / 0-)

              The commanders in the IJN might have disagreed with the direction the IJA leaders were taking the country but none of them had the courage to directly and forcefully confront them.  So Japanese leadership all through the summer and fall of 1941 performed their kabuki while they slipped off to war because they couldn't think of anything better to do.  Unfortunately, Japanese Navy leadership was dominated by Yamamoto who clearly opposed the strategic drift toward war with the US but who, as one of the best poker players in the Japanese military, could not walk away from the challenge of crafting an operational design starting the war and then implementing it to learn if it might work.  According to the thesis put forth above, WW2 was just a war game gone bad.  

              "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

              by PrahaPartizan on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:18:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Are officers not supposed to obey the orders of (0+ / 0-)

                their political superiors?

                The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                by lysias on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:09:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What About "Suggestions?" (0+ / 0-)

                  Japanese politicians were famous for giving suggestions on what they wanted to do, not explicit orders.  The Japanese military high command failed in explicitly advising their political superiors and the Emperor that they would definitely lose any war in which they engaged the US.  They never became so transparent and we know the rest of the story.

                  We faced a similar problem with the American commanders who provided poor advice to their political superiors in the run up to the Iraq War.  Of course, the malice on the civilian side was demonstrated by the retribution the civilian command imposed on officers who disagreed but the military commanders did demonstrate great moral cowardice in supporting the war.  Given the way the war was fought, I suspect a pretty high amount of just outright stupidity in the American officer corps was involved too in agreeing to the initial invasion.  

                  "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                  by PrahaPartizan on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:59:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Definitely to us in the West, BUT (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nolagrl, worldlotus, RiveroftheWest

            There were a number of countries in the rest of the world that saw the Japanese as the model to imitate.

            The example I know best was in Ethiopia -- one of the few independent African countries. Some of the tiny number of college-educated intellectuals in the 1920s & early 1930s strongly endorsed this strategy & were known as Japanizers. These intellectuals saw Japan as a model of modernization that did not require adopting Western ways -- such as democracy, of which Haile Selassie was always mistrustful. The first Constitution of Ethiopia -- promulgated in 1931 -- was heavily influenced by the Japanese Meiji Constitution. There was even talk of a marriage between the two imperial families, which now seems to have been little more than just that, talk.

            Of course, in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Japan sided with its Axis Ally Italy, to the disappointment of not only Ethiopians, but some Japanese. I believe there was even a demonstration or two in Japan about the country's refusal to even make a statement of support for Ethiopia -- not that Japan could have done more than that.

            Anyway, as Mythatsme up thread wrote, history is often complicated.

      •  Yep, just as you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        note below. The Japanese were not only the bad guys then, they were the most powerful, sweeping countries in quest to conquer what Napoleon failed to accomplish.

        Old men tell same old stories

        by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:21:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  FWIW, Japan occupied Korea in 1910 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        hardly a part of WWII.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:47:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And kicked Russia's butt at Port Arthur. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          agnostic, markdd, llywrch, worldlotus, OzarkOrc

          The real Japanese plan was to attack Pearl Harbor to disable the Pacific Fleet, particularly the carriers. Japanese Naval Command calculated it would take 18 months for the US to rebuild their fleet enough to be a threat to Japan's colonial ambitions.  During those months, they deducted that US would be focused on Europe, leaving Japan unchallenged as it swallowed Asia. Then, a war-weary US would negotiate and cede the East to Japan without a fight.

          Makes sense.  I'd bet on those odds.

          They attacked under the assumption that:
          1)  The declaration of war had been presented to the Sec. of State.  (FAIL)
          2) American military bases were on guard against an attack by air.  

          The Japanese weren't 'sneaking' on purpose. WE were clueless. They were astonished at the lack of resistance and the time it took for the Army (before AF split off) and Marines to mount a defense. They knew they were suicide bombers. Then it dawned on them that they don't have to die. In fact, they had a DUTY to live.  Think about it.

          Hawaii's racist military resources were focused on preventing sabotage by undercover spies and saboteurs hiding in the local population.   So all ammo, every airplane and each artillery bunker were carefully under lock and key. Airplanes were immobilized by steel cables and heavy locks
          And only a couple people knew who had the keys to the armory.  

          oops. got carried away. Did my dissertation on the impact of movies in how we remember Pearl Harbor.  It was fun.  I'll go post on my diary.

          Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

          by nolagrl on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:21:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The planes were all neatly lined up (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus, RiveroftheWest

            to make them easier to guard, and much easier to strafe.  

            You're right it was supposed to be a lightning strike arriving immediately after the declaration of war was delivered.  

            Supposedly the US code breakers had  decoded the message about an hour before the Japanese Ambassador decoded it and typed it up himself.

            “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

            by markdd on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:17:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  US code breakers had the military codes (4+ / 0-)

              but not the diplomatic codes.   Cables were the main means of communication.  So the entire declaration had to be written down from dots and dashes, then decoded, then translated, then typed in English by non-English speaking typists. No spell check.  And it was not a short document.

              The Japanese fleet maintained radio silence, making them invisible.

              People tend to forget the limited communications of the time.  Often, you couldn't contact Hawaii until you got a good bounce to the signal.  

              Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

              by nolagrl on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:11:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  For how many deaths have we been responsible (0+ / 0-)

        in Iraq?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:08:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agnostic it is exactly as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you point out and I have to agree with you about America`s input to Japan`s might that made that imperial country so powerful back then. And as you probably know, Japan was a power to reckon with.

      The same role played then with Japan this country continues to supply arms and the same war materials to countries that in time might pose a threat to this nation. "We" even train those nations and its military the trade of war, supplying the weapons and men/women to be part of training exercises.

      I think about this but have come to learn that this country is bent on wars for profit, and it will not stop.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:49:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dean Atcheson? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

      by DavidMS on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:25:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The orders for the cutoff were drawn up by (0+ / 0-)

      Harry Dexter White, the high-ranking official in the Department of the Treasury who was about to become Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. And who, it became clear, after the fact, had been an agent for Stalin's Soviet Union.

      I am a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, and I have never had anything but admiration for the way the Imperial Japanese Navy inflicted such a defeat upon us at Pearl Harbor.  It may have been a strategic stupidity, but naval officers are supposed to follow the orders, however unwise, of their political superiors, and in this case they did so, admirably (after having advised those political superiors about how unwise the plan was).  It was a great tactical success for the Japanese Navy.

      As for what those political superiors decided, it may have been a violation of international law, but how many times has this country violated international law in recent years?

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:07:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My father was in the South Pacific in WWII (8+ / 0-)

    and he never talked about it; I only gleaned a little bit when he (very) belatedly received a Bronze Medal of Honor in the early 1990s (his unit commander mentioned it at one of the re-unions and when my Dad was surprised, the commander followed up on it and made the decoration happen - 50 years later).  I still do  not know what exactly happened - he pulled someone to safety under enemy fire is the gist.

    I do not know where he served, what unit, etc  - he never talked about it.  However, as children, WWII was always there - looking back I recognize some causes of his "eccentric" behavior (any TV shows with gun shots were verboten).  And he never lost his drill sergeant "voice" when displeased with us kids.  

    I think it is a good thing that you are digging for stories - too many of them are lost forever and I am not sure if Stephen Ambrose's archives are still active in searching for contemporary witnesses.

    Please share if appropriate.

    •  You can obtain your dad's service record (or he (6+ / 0-)

      can, if still living) from the National Personnel Records Center by submitting an SF-180 form.

      Any veteran or surviving next of kin can do this.
      This is for all services and eras, with the exception of certain records that were destroyed in a fire at the St. Louis archive site years ago.

      A major fire on July 12, 1973 destroyed approximately one-third of its 52 million official military personnel files.[2]

      We’re Ready, Wendy’s Ready! WTF Are We Waiting For? Bring ‘em on! The revolution has begun! Come and take it!

      by Bluefin on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:33:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My Father (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My father was in the Navy stationed on Johnston Island in the North Pacific on December 7th 1941. He served the entire war mostly on the Battleship Tennessee. He never did talk about it much and one of my regrets is that I didn't ask more about it. I always had the sense that he just didn't want to go there.

        He died 3 years ago today. I am in tears as I type this.

        I just may look up his records. Thanks for the link.

    •  That drill sergeant voice... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My step-dad had spent the entire war training those who went and fought. Never got out of the States. Was pissed for decades, until...

      In 1968, having been a Field Director (attached to military bases) for several years, was sent to Vietnam. He spent 13 months in Quang Ngai Province (right next to the DMV) and came home with very different feelings about waging war in general.

      That voice could make any of us (two big brothers and I) jump out of our skins and basically start confessing to something. Anything.

      He had lots of stories he wouldn't tell.

      Courtesy is owed. Respect is earned. Love is given. (Unknown author, found in Guide to Texas Etiquette by Kinky Friedman)

      by marykmusic on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:14:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck tomorrow, Ole Texan-- (3+ / 0-)

    Wrap up warm and if you're lucky your daughter won't catch you.

    I'd love to hear what happens.  At the very least, you're bringing friendship to men who really can't get out much.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:12:04 PM PST

    •  Thank you DrLori. (5+ / 0-)

      I am looking for real conversations tomorrow. I hope my guys in there are not to damaged or ill.

      I have come to think that many of those in that place have reached their final destination in life. They are old and some have just been forgotten...A tragic shame as my daughter has told me.

      Others though do have strong support not only from the U.S.
      Govenment and President Obama, but still have very strong family ties. I would have to think how difficult it would be for any family member with a relative interned and hospitalized there for the reasons that they are.

      I think I want to talk to those forgotten ones. I want to return on more accasions now that this seed has been planted in my head by my friend Martin.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:13:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I watched a documentary called Salinger. (6+ / 0-)

    About JD Salinger. It had a bit dedicated to his military service. He either spent 299 or 399 (I would have to watch the movie again) days in combat. He started at Utah beach and went to liberation of death camps with many heavy casualty battles in between.

    The documentary showed the men who also survived these days being put through psychiatric care in groups.

    My dad was also in the hospital when he came back from the Pacific. We were told it was jaundice, but I wonder.

    Why is it easier to buy a gun than it is to register to vote in most states?

    by 88kathy on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:31:54 PM PST

  •  "jokes he lived through" what does that mean? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    •  robcat2075 (4+ / 0-)

      I could write another diary to tell you the jokes my friend told me he lived through as a soldier in the Army.

      That would take too long. I will tell you a short story which was his favorite joke. He and a friend came on furlough into a small southern Texa town to celebrate. They had been drinking obviously, and my friend stepped out of their rented room to get some ice while not wearing his shoes.

      When he returned to the room, the other soldier had locked the door because he had a woman inside.

      My friend, a bit tipsy without shoes went into a resturant wanting very badly some Mexican food. He wanted food that he missed badly and as he waited for his order, he somehow felt a fainting spell due to his drinking and fell from his stool to the floor.

      The owner called the cops and they came and showed my friend the door, without shoes.

      Once outside he knew he needed those shoes so he somehow climed up on the outside of the resturant trying to reach the window of the second floor room where his shoes were.

      People thought he was a burgler and called the cops again.
      When they came, he told them he only wanted his shoes and his friend had a woman in the room and he did not want to go knocking on the door.

      The joke, is that he never got his Mexican food, and was taken to jail for a while on suspicious of burglary until the other soldier came and got him out..

      This my friend is just one joke he lived through. I hope you enjoyed it. I will gladly tell you another if you wish.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:05:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another thought. A man lived down the road from (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    207wickedgood, Jack K, RiveroftheWest

    my family. He fought in both WWI and WWII. He was too young for WWI so he lied his age. He was too old for WWII so he lied his age again.

    I wonder if anyone has that story. From his family. I don't remember any kids there. But they were pretty old then.

    Why is it easier to buy a gun than it is to register to vote in most states?

    by 88kathy on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:47:36 PM PST

  •  My Dad (died 1970) always needed an alarm clock (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jack K, kurt, RiveroftheWest

    that would flash to wake him. He would freak out from normal alarms. And, of course, it was electric because the tick-tock would cause him nightmares.

    I'm not sure of his exact job as a sailor on the destroyer Henley but do know his ship was on the far side of the harbor on the 7th. Coral Sea, Guadalcanal landings, were some of the engagements they were in before being sunk by submarine torpedoes off the very eastern tip of New Guinea while looking for um, submarines. Ship broke in half and went down in like 90 seconds. The other 2 destroyers couldn't stop for survivors because well, submarine! Everyone had to spend a few hours with sharks until rescued.

    I remember how irate my mom was when the cemetery marker had him listed as serving on the battleship Missouri. she made sure it was replaced with DD Henley.

    Thank you vets.

    •  I should have also mentioned my uncle, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who was a sailor stationed in Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th. He never talked about his exploits till shortly before he died. His last few days he seemed to be haunted by the memory of one of the ships near his than had been sunk. He talked again and again of the horror of having to walk by the sunken ship still at the dock and hearing the pounding coming from inside the hull of the dying men. Apparently they tried to rescue them but didn't have the tool or equipment needed. He said it took about a week before the knocking stopped.

  •  Sadly, I believe once we Boomers (7+ / 0-)

    join the Dearly Departed over the next 25, 30 years those we leave behind will barely remember WWII or Pearl Harbor.  I remember studying the Civil War back in 8th grade and wondering, my God, that was 100 years ago, why we learning about that?  And, when you're 13, 14 one hundred years ago may as well be the beginning of time.  They may still teach WWII and Pearl Harbor in school these days, but if you stand at Times Square and ask those passing by under 30 what the significance of Dec. 7th is I bet, sadly, nearly half have no clue.  But, if it's any consolation we still remember the Alamo.  Maybe it's all them Davy Crockett movies.  I hope the day lives in infamy.  But, we're a nation now that can barely remember what happened last week.  The Repubs count on that.

    •  It's something I find myself thinking about this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winkk, RiveroftheWest, worldlotus

      all the time these days, regarding issues both big and small...

      ...I came of age at the end of the Vietnam War and am the son of a WWII vet.  WWII is 'history' to me even though my parents experienced it, but Vietnam was reality.  On a smaller scale, I was in the early stages of my career as a federal natural resource management employee when the most prominent local landscape feature - Mt. St. Helens - decided to erupt and send my career in directions I never could otherwise have dreamed of.  I now work with a bright young group of federal employees who were either unborn or in diapers in 1980 when I was experiencing the St. Helens eruption and whose parents didn't have thoughts about being parents when some of my older former high school friends were slogging around in SE Asia...

      I was born at the end of the Korean War and to me it is 'history'.  I suspect that the 30-something's of today see Vietnam the same way, so it wouldn't surprise me that their personal disconnection with the reality of the sort of tense global war that our parents experienced in WWII could look just like our views of the Civil War...

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

      by Jack K on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:24:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. Sadly. I served at the behest (4+ / 0-)

        of Uncle Sam during the Vietnam war, although I did not spend one second there.  Luck of the draw and all that.  But, when the JFK 50th came up as an "event" of sorts last month I thought to myself, no Way that can be 50 years ago...  It does seem like 25, 30 years ago, but 50?
        And, it's much of the reason why we can't get through to the "kids" under 35 re. issues du jour regarding the "Economy" and the KochBros et. al.  The reason being they don't remember the America we do.  B.R.  Before Reagan.  What they see today is "normal."  winkk, what you taking about the Fast Food workers on strike?  We've been making $7 an hour since H.S.  What's up with them rebels?  The under 35 crowd has no clue about America B.R.  They accept the KochBros' boot on their neck as "normal," wonder what the Liberals are whining about.
        Hopefully we can get through to the Millenials that their "normal" is horse$h!t.

      •  It's not just wars. Everything that happened (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fixed Point Theorem, worldlotus

        to us old folks is history now. How many still remember the Depression, WW2, B&W TV, a man walking on the moon? But there are a tremendous amount of good history books and films, and those things won't be forgotten -- just as the Civil War isn't forgotten. The personal disconnect is inevitable but the history remains.

        •  WW2? Vietnam? Try End of the Cold War (3+ / 0-)

          Most of the under-30 crowd doesn't have a clue what the Soviet Union was.  Cold War?  What was that?  It really lasted for forty years?  One nice week in October we might have turned the planet into a smoking, radioactive cinder?  Who knew?  The underlying fear of the era which seeped into the bones of those who passed through it just isn't comprehended by those under 30, and it is actually a good thing.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:26:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I asked my parents where they were that day (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, RiveroftheWest, TofG, worldlotus

    60 years after the fact, they remembered.

    My father was at ft Bragg N.C. a Staff Sergent instructing recruits in the finer points of cannon cocking, ballistics, field repair, maintenance  and all. He didn't go to Europe till after D-Day where he ran a battery and served at Bastogne during the battle of the bulge.

    My mother was in Michigan learning to weld gas tanks for airplanes, she was 16, she'd fibbed about her age to get hired and nobody was checking too closely. She still fibs about her age occasionally.

    They taught me an important lesson from what they had experienced: pacifism

  •  Thanks OT, It's a difficult chore (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, RiveroftheWest

    I'm glad your're trying it.

    My dad served as a gunnery instructor, and never left the US and rarely talked about his service.  My FiL enlisted (drafted?) in 1946, ended up as a mechanic in Korea in 1950.  He would occasionally admit that he'd been in Korea and promptly change the subject.  He was ill for the last 40 years of his life, I've started to wonder if it was related to PTSD.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:01:00 PM PST

  •  My great uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, worldlotus

    ...on a Navy ship. He survived. In fact, I actually inherited his old worn green classic heavy metal indestructible navy trunk sitting right here beside me now. Yup, this trunk survived Pearl Harbor.

    * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

    by ArthurPoet on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:26:24 AM PST

  •  My worst fears bit me twice this morning! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, worldlotus

    It was 4 degrees cold this morning when I checked the weather report. It was 8 a.m. a while ago when my friend Martin called me on the phone.

    He has called to postpone his invitation because he is just in the same situation I am with our families at home.

    At his age I think his Son and daughters did not want him to go out in such cold weather, as he suffered from his personal ailments that include difficulties breathing that requires taking some type of oxigen mask at home when needed.

    Even if I had wanted to persist and encourage him to go, I ran into the same road block. My wife talked to my daugher last night and told her of the plan I had for today.

    My daughter was at my door as I was still on the phone with my friend Martin.

    Her first words to me were: "And what do you think you are doing soldier?"

    These were her exact words to me. My wife must had been worried because she hears me constantly conplaining about sparks coming out of my knee inn cold climate. Or that is how I describe my pain to her, so she obviously told my daugther last night..

    I wrote in my diary that I hoped that my daughter would be there and see me. In fact, I had forgotten completely that my daughter has Saturday and Sundays off, and does not work on those days. Unless she is on call for special reasons, this morning she was not.

    She told me that folks at her work have enough trouble handling the veterans there and did not need a hero seeking sick old man to add to their troubles if I were to suddenly become ill or nauseated as I have complained to her on occasions when my blood pressure gets too low.

    I am really disappointed. My daughter sounded surprised to my sudden interest in visiting her work. She told me that I could go with her anytime I wanted weather permitted and that she would personally take me there.

    I just do not know what other thing to say or who to blame for my failure to go forth with my plan. I was really looking into it. I had my writing pad ready as I wanted to record each conversation with my newly hidden heros in that terrible place where I know they need my visit. All I can do now is wait a bit, I will not stop until I get to do my thing.

    If this unwelcomed incident was not enough of a bummer to me, I am very disappointed in not finding in the news anything about Pearl Harbor. In my right-wing newspaper here in Milwaukee, a single article about a Wisconsin hero is in the news. Nowhere else am I hearing or reading on the subject that I said we must never forget.

    I am sorry, deeply sorry of my disappointment.

    Old men tell same old stories

    by Ole Texan on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:43:52 AM PST

  •  My father in law lost a brother and his mind in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Pacific theater. Suffered from PSTD all his life. He would tell anyone remotely interested all that he saw, including landing on Iowa Jima as part of a temporary second deployment. He had images of dead young boys stacked along side the road like so much cord wood indelibly pressed into mind, as well as that of a fellow shipmate next to him sawn in half by a suicide pilot's plane's shrapnel. Had terrible nightmares all his life.

    In spite of all this he married after the war and raised wonderful children, but his affliction hurt is relationships and almost destroyed his love of life.

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:39:36 AM PST

  •  Today's Reading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bill McWilliams - Sunday in Hell: Pearl Harbor Minute by Minute.

    I am going to take this book off my shelf today and re-read a few sections.  As the title says it is a minute-by-minute account of that day.   It is a very good book.

  •  Pearl Harbor as Brinkmanship (5+ / 0-)

    My father served in the Seabees in the South Pacific, and went from the Marshall Islands to Okinawa. But like so many others rarely spoke about his experiences.  My grandfather told me how my father had come upon the bodies of American nurses who had been cut open from throat to groin.  After the war he never hunted again, and while he loved his shipmates had no nostalgia about the War itself.  It was not a "good war" in his eyes.  When I faced the draft during the Vietnam War era, he told me that were I to go to Canada to escape the draft he would support me.  Because the Vietnam War was not a declared war, it was not legitimate in his eyes.

    My uncle served on the battleship U.S.S. South Dakota as an anti-aircraft gunner.  He had tripped over the entrails of a buddy who was blown up next to him, and had faced kamikaze aircraft as they exploded yards from their ship.  He talked a little more about his experiences, and never could forgive the Japanese for what he had seen.

    Somehow all of that propelled me into becoming a historian of Japan, which is how I earn my bread these days.

    The popular image of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, one that my father held all his life, was that it was an unprovoked sneak attack.  As others in this thread have pointed out, there was the issue of our cutting off petroleum shipments to Japan (I wonder what the US would do if somebody cut our petroleum supplies), and the fact that war fanatics had taken control of the Japanese government.

    However the US and Japanese governments were playing a big game of what later became called brinksmanship.  American leaders were betting that "those little yellow bastards" (not that we were racist or anything) might attack Koreans and Chinese, but would not dare attack a country as powerful as the US.  Japanese leaders were betting that "those decadent, lazy, pacifistic Americans" (their racism took a different form) did not have the determination to fight an extended war.  Their goal was to bring the US to the negotiating table to receive recognition for Japanese conquests in Asia.

    Both governments followed policies that made war inevitable by assuming that the other would fold.  Both were wrong.  And many, on both sides of the Pacific, are still paying for that.

    •  I read a rather brillaint history of this time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013, RiveroftheWest

      here a couple of years ago. Here were my takeaways: Japan's military leadership was not under civilian control. It was led by young brash officers with that ageless timeworn objective: putting their nation back to its rightful place in history as a hegemon. (As you said, warmongers). Our cutting off petroleum was in response to their aggressive moves in the region. In other words, war was inevitable, it was only matter of when and how.

      A sneak attack is a sneak attack, and this one was one for the history books. Had our carriers been harbored, we would probably have lost the war. As it was, Christmas of 41 was particularly gloomy.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:15:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hegemon? More like "Imperial Power" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, RiveroftheWest

        You are absolutely right in pointing out that the military was not under civilian control, and that was a constitutional defect. However Japan had never been hegemonic.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) was the exception.  Taking a cue from the Holy Roman Empire in Europe, he imagined putting himself in power in Beijing and ruling an empire that stretched as far as India.  However his forces got as far as Korea, where they stagnated and eventually were defeated by combined Korean and Chinese forces.  After that, the subsequent Tokugawa regime made peace with Korea, restricted foreign travel, and ruled a peaceful realm until Americans forced the Japanese to open ports in 1853.  I hope the Untied States can someday match the Japanese and manage to go 250 years without fighting a war.

        From that time, the Japanese started to model themselves on European and American imperial powers.  By the 1870s the Japanese cultivated imperialist ambitions.  In 1905, the U.S. and Japan settled the Taft-Katsura Agreement, in which both countries turned a blind eye to each other--what the Japanese were doing in Korea and what the U.S. was doing in the Philippines.  Both Japan and the U.S. were engaged in violent anti-insurgency campaigns in those countries at the time.

        In the eyes of Japanese militarists and imperialists, Japan had the same right to influence on mainland Asia that the U.S. had declared for itself in Latin America with the Monroe Doctrine.  The U.S. was supporting the "Open Door" policy that called for equal presence of all imperial powers in China, and that, essentially, was what we went to war over.  

        At the time the war began, neither the U.S. nor Japan imagined that the end of the war would come only with "unconditional surrender."  That came as a consequence of conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt at the Casablanca Conference, when they decided that if unconditional surrender were what was necessary to end the war in Europe, they had to make it the same in the Pacific.

        Had Japanese war planners known that the only way to end the war with the U.S. was unconditional surrender, they might have restrained themselves more and the anti-war faction would have had more leverage.

        As for the "sneak attack," had the hapless Japanese diplomat in Washington trying to type out the document in English declaring an end to diplomatic relations on December 6, 1941 actually known how to type, the U.S. military would have been waiting with loaded weapons in Pearl Harbor, Manila, and on other bases in the Pacific.  If the U.S. Navy had actually imagined that a Japanese attack was possible, then they would have known that the radar images of a massive fleet of aircraft coming to Hawai'i were a menace.  Incompetence on both sides made it a "sneak" attack.

        •  Declaring an end to diplomacy or a declaration (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of war? Big difference, no?

          Here's a link to the diary, love to know your take, but i think I know already.

          70 Years After the Day of Infamy: The Real Lessons of Pearl Harbor

          Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

          by the fan man on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:37:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A Good Diary (3+ / 0-)

            That was one of the best pieces I've seen on the Internet about Pearl Harbor.

            At the time, as now, a break in diplomatic relations was not simply "an end to diplomacy" but a virtual declaration of war.

            "70 Years After" is accurate on the most essential points regarding the structural problems with the Japanese constitution and the issues of American racism. As a historian, I've come to look at questions of inevitability as irrelevant and urge students to examine the complexities and ambiguities involved.  The result tends to encourage humility rather than arrogance and chauvinism, a desire to learn more rather than assert superiority.  "70 Years After" points to the importance of not making the military into something sacred and larger than other national interests.  That certainly is not a problem in Japan today, where many people say that losing the war was the best thing to happen to the country as it resulted in the purge of violent militarists who assumed they knew what was best for the country.  The question needs to be asked where, in today's world, the military assumes a position of being sacred, above other national interests.

            But when it comes to saying things like, "the lessons of Pearl Harbor are inseparable from the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," I'm not sure what the point is. The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were that (contrary to popular perception) nuclear weapons, no more than napalm and white phosphorous (which killed many many more Japanese civilians than the nuclear weapons), were much less effective in getting the Japanese to surrender than was the threat of Soviet occupation.  In short, history has a lot of ambiguity to offer.

            What "70 Years After" does very well is to make that point with regard to the moral ambiguities of the war.  We like to see ourselves as the good guys and the Japanese as the bad guys.  But in the war, nobody comes off looking very good.  Were the Japanese militarists bad?  Yes.  Horrific.  What about us?  As "70 Years After" points out, the film The Fog of War is a good place to start.  Then give E. B. Sledge's With the Old Breed a close read.

    •  Japan once had a televison program titled (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Stupid Foreigners."

      It was quite popular.

      •  Soko ga shiritai (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2013, RiveroftheWest

        was a very popular Japanese "travel" program back in the 80s that should have been translated as "Peculiar and Embarrassingly Stupid Japanese" for a number of their shows.  Quite an entertaining show.  

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:49:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's an upbeat show, hand held camera (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and Japanese local color.

          "Stupid Foreigners Behaving Badly" recaps what the 70s/80s original was up to.

          In Japan, the mentally ill are institutionalized, overwhelmingly. The Japanese really didn't know what to make of other cultures' OCDs, schizophrenics, etc. They hardly ever see mental illnesses face to face. So the show did quite well.

    •  Who started it? (0+ / 0-)
      As others in this thread have pointed out, there was the issue of our cutting off petroleum shipments to Japan (I wonder what the US would do if somebody cut our petroleum supplies), and the fact that war fanatics had taken control of the Japanese government.
      IIUC, under international law, a blockade is an act of war.  Anyway, that was the story that was accepted in the U.S. when Israel attacked its neighbors in 1967.
  •  COLE, Charles Warren SGT USMC Washington (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013, RiveroftheWest

    This is my great uncle who died on the USS Arizona, December 7th 1941 at the age of 21. I never got to meet him, but his name will forever be a part of the Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

    Sometimes an acorn has to make a stand.

    by glb3 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:51:13 PM PST

  •  I have a Japanese microscope, a portable, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that a relative captured or more likely traded for during WW II.

    It has the papers for bringing it back home to the United States.

    I've thought that a Japanese family would find it more valuable as something a doctor or medic had used.

    Have no idea how to contact someone over there.

    It's a Tiyoda. Looks to be a DIN standard layout with a shorter barrel. Folding model. Took some deterioration though the metal box and everything are complete.

  •  Pearl Harbor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My mother's school mate (a couple of years ahead of her) joined the Navy after he graduated from high school. He was a Firemans Mate 3rd Class on the USS Arizona and perished in the attack.

    A young man from the neighboring town (my home town) who served as a Gunners Mate 3rd Class also perished that day on the USS Arizona. So two men who grew up less than 10 miles away from each other in a small farming community in North Dakota died that day. The same family in my home town lost their other son a few years later on D-Day. A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that she remembered visiting the family from our home town and they had a very wide photo that was displayed prominently in their hutch. It was a photo of all the men on the USS Arizona (including their son) -- taken a few weeks before the attack. I cannot fathom their loss.

    My late father was sent to the Philippines right after the war. He fixed jeeps and trucks so served as a Tech. I, for one, am really glad he did not see war first hand. He became a farmer and lived till 64 after developing cancer.

    I took a trip to Hawaii in the late 1980s. I signed up for a Circle Tour of Oahu. Our driver was a native Hawaiian. He asked the people on the tour questions about history and what they knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, everyone but me feigned ignorance and disinterest about discussing the attack. I sat up front and talked to him as we made our way around the island. I learned that he served in the Navy on the USS Nevada but had resigned his commission just a few weeks before the attack. He was on the island when the attack occurred and shared his sorrow for what he witnessed and the souls lost that day.

    He immediately rejoined. I don't recall he talked much about the ensuing years. I think he was stationed back on the USS Nevada. He said that he was asked to be on hand on the USS Missouri for the Japanese surrender. He was there to represent the men who served on the USS Nevada.

    I wish I would have written down his name. I told him about my mother's school mate (who had served as her math tutor) and that they named the Legion Post after him. And I told him about the young man from my home town who died on the USS Arizona. I told him their names, and that they are listed on the wall of the Memorial.

    He was sad that the others on our tour had little interest in his experiences. He lived an incredible life and I wish he knew what an impact that encounter had on me and how I remember him to this day.

  •  Thanks for this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was born and raised in Hawai'i, not far from Pearl Harbor.  My father was born and raised in Hawai'i as well, born in a field, also near Pearl.  

    Hawai'i people, particularly those whose families lived through Pearl Harbor faced a unique set of experiences, especially those who were Japanese Americans.  

    My uncle was a member of the Hawaiian Guard, outfitted in tin helmets and WW1 rifles.  As soon as it was clear that we were under attack, they all raced down to their Harbor, their home, and engaged in hours of rescue, diving into the waters, offering basic first aid, and doing hospital transport.  They did this for hours, then some bright light decided that they were "Japs" and they were arrested at bayonet point and held in captivity under guard for days.  He and his buddies all volunteered for service in the 100th Battalion and he saw horrors in Europe.  His company of 100 men (theirs were small companies) suffered 73 casualties in one battle, he was left still standing, a fate that he never forgave himself for, or for the act of killing - he, like many of his fellow soldiers, was a Buddhist.  He was awarded several Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, something none of us knew until his death in his 90s.

    My father was strafed by a Japanese plane near Wheeler, the plane came so close, he could see the pilot's face.  My father stepped on the gas and made it Wahiawa.  

    Another uncle served as a translator and was drafted into Army Intelligence.  He was attached to the Australians who hated him because of his race, and he had to translate as they tortured Japanese prisoners.  He, too, was never the same.  

    Yet other uncles were in the 442, (attached at that time to Patton's army) and were part of the first troops to find and liberate one of the many sub-camps of Dachau, a memory that pained them even 50 years later, about the inhumanity of man.  

    These were all kanakas, kamaainas, local boys born and raised in Hawaii.  The attack on Pearl Harbor and on the island of Oahu (my grandmother's house was strafed, as well), was very personal and very painful.  The night of Dec 7 was noted for something as well, that night, family documents, heirlooms, photographs all disappeared into cook fires or forges (generations of history burned up that night) because the fear suddenly occurred that despite that fact that was no and never any evidence of a 5th column, these people who were "children of the land" born and raised on the islands were suddenly suspect as enemies of the state, and anything, even the most benign, could be twisted as proof of treason.

    Even well into the 1960s, as an artifact of that war, my brother and his buddies uncovered UXB left over from the war, still buried in the fields around the Middle Loch of Pearl Harbor.

    War is a horrible thing.  That we send troops into battle on our behalf is a responsibility that we civilians, sadly, do not seem to well understand.  

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:19:26 AM PST

  •  Sorrowful recollections, nightmares and still... (1+ / 0-)
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    When one remembers that the primary reason Japan chose to attack Pearl Harbor was the United States had cut off oil exports to them in retaliation for their aggressive, murderous conquests in the Far East - of all countries, the United States should have recalled from the tragic lesson that Japan had to experience - the folly of going to war for oil.

    As the conflict wore on, Japan's lack of native natural resources required their soldiers to conserve scarce, valuable ammunition by fully embracing their ancient warlord culture of Bushido which, among other traits, included bayonetting children as a form of interrogation, vivisection of living prisoners, beheadings and other atrocities not fit for public mention. It seems that these facts are overlooked in the pursuit of political correctness when, in fact, they should be remembered for the levels of barbarism that otherwise "civilized" people find themselves when beholden to religious zealots and hyper-nationalism.

    Millions of people dead - trillions of dollars wasted - civilizations and cultures brought to the point of extinction - the treasure of nations plundered in the pursuit of what, exactly? The ability to force dominion over other people to gain ownership of their natural resources?

    It is our responsibility as stewards of a civilized world to honor the dead and the fundamental principles their sacrifice helped to preserve. It is also our responsibility to loathe those responsible for their deaths and the reasons that compelled them to wage war; for to forget or allow the memory to dim with time invites certain repetition.

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