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.