PDA

View Full Version : "A day that will live in infamy."



SnakebyteXX
12-07-2004, 08:47 AM
On December 7th, 1941 my then 19 year old father was a seaman stationed aboard a US Naval destroyer. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor his ship was performing aircraft carrier escort duty only a couple hundred miles off the coast of Oahu. When they learned of what had happened at Pearl that small group of ships and the carrier they were supporting turned about and headed into port arriving approximately 36 hours after the attack.

What became known to later generations as "Pearl Harbor Day" was his introduction to four long years of combat in the South Pacific while America fought for its very existence. During those years his ship participated in nearly all the major naval engagements with the Japanese including Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Dad rarely talked about the time he spent fighting the war and it was not until late in his life that I began to ask him questions of what it had been like. In what turned out to be the last email we exchanged before his death I broached the subject of Pearl Harbor. A couple of short excerpts follow:

"Dear Dad,

Last night I watched a special on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and even though Id seen that kind of program a ton of times before it was the first time I realized just how horrible it must have been to be there and just how badly they kicked the crap out of us there----less than thirty Jap planes down, more than two hundred American planes destroyed---twenty eight ships sunk or out of commission--and you floating in not long after. It must have seemed like a nightmare to have been there and to have lived through it."

"Son,

Your relating of how you saw and felt the impact of war after the Pearl Harbor special was, to me, a sort of tribute to what I and so many others did at that time. Regardless of what fiction writers put out for our reading pleasure, very, very few men and/or women who participate in the activities known as "war" want to glorify those experiences. Sure, I had my day under, in and through gunfire, but I also had all the fear, trepidation and debilitation that goes with the 'under, in and through'. When you are in it, the thought foremost in your mind is "will I make it through this and how soon can I go home?!" When, and if you do make it out alive, your natural inclination is to push the traumatics so far back in your mind that the real effects on you may never surface again, and if so in very small indications. I'm glad you are aware, though, and thank you for how you feel.

Not pretty, not nice, but an actuality of my life. Many times I come to grips with the realization that I was very. very lucky to have made it out of there alive, and, probably wouldn't have if we had not A-bombed Japan. That horrible action on our part saved more lives than we can ever know. OK, I really didn't mean to get off on something that I know is most unpleasant to you and many others of the generations that followed mine, but it's in here in my mind, and somehow it helps at times to let it out."
--------------------

December 7th is more than a day of infamy to me. Each year on this day I am reminded of my father and the men like him who without knowing what was to come gave of themselves in defense of everything America held dear - gave of themselves and held the line. It is because of men like them that we have the life we do today.

On this day, in honor of my father and the men who fought that war my heartfelt thanks and deepest respect goes out to each and every one of you.

Snake

Candyman
12-07-2004, 09:31 AM
Thanks for the post Snake. God bless your father and men and women just like him for their service. We need to thank these vets every time we see them. Most are in their 80's and won't be here much longer. They are truly special. Lock

Wally_in_Cincy
12-07-2004, 09:35 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SnakebyteXX:</font><hr>

On this day, in honor of my father and the men who fought that war my heartfelt thanks and deepest respect goes out to each and every one of you.

<hr /></blockquote>

Amen brother

hondo
12-07-2004, 11:54 AM
Tap! Tap! Tap!


quote=Candyman] Thanks for the post Snake. God bless your father and men and women just like him for their service. We need to thank these vets every time we see them. Most are in their 80's and won't be here much longer. They are truly special. Lock <hr /></blockquote>