Pearl Harbor Day never goes by the board at The Possum Den: it’s younger daughter Lindsey’s birthday. (“Gee, thanks, Dad. Is that another burden I’ll have to carry all my life?”)
America has this bad habit of letting our enemies sneak up on us. Pearl Harbor has been somewhat superseded by 11 Sept 01, and there is shame attached to how quickly that event has been forgotten.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a defining moment for The Greatest Generation. Like 9/11 and JFK’s assassination, you never forget where you were when the news broke.
My parents were enjoying a leisurely Sunday after-church drive with their best friends, Bill and Margaret Riordan. The four of them were sandwiched into a Model A Ford. A deluxe V-8 model, the Ford came equipped with a radio. (This all seems quaint by today’s standards, but a car radio was a big deal in 1941.)
Dad and “Uncle Bill” knew that the world had just taken a dramatic shift on its axis. Nothing would be the same. They enlisted the next day.
Two of Dad’s three brothers also enlisted. Fred and Benjamin joined the Marines. As oldest brother, Dad joined the Army. Yates, a high school principal, became one of the few FBI agents without a law or accounting degree. He chased Nazi spies for the duration, retired to run the Kansas ATF bureau in 1975, and passed on in 1997. Uncle Ben survived Iwo Jima, Uncle Fred descibed stepping off a sinking aircraft carrier in the Coral Sea, and Dad originated the drive-by shooting in a incident with Panzers in December 1944.
My family is all gone now. They were the Greatest Generation. I am ashamed that I did not mark Pearl Harbor Day, except for a phone call to my daughter.
I don’t tend this blog the way I should. I am spending way too much time getting acquainted with my local hospital employees. Life runs in that direction at times.
Remember Pearl Harbor, and remember 9/11. When we are gone, no one speaks for the lost.