|second grade school picture|
Anyhow, I'd like to tell you a story about something that happened when I was in first grade. Sorry about using the later picture here, but my first grade pic is plastered (for eternity) in a montage my mother made years ago. Too bad, because I actually looked melodramatic in that picture. Very serious, and much more fitting for this post.
[ By the way, notice the pin I'm wearing? It was my treasured Davy Crockett pin. That, and a little green Heinz pickle were my favorites. Weird kid.]
Anyway, back to the story. It was December 7, just like today, and when I came home from school, I was still brooding about something my teacher had told my class that day. After dinner, the family took a ride to my grandmother's house, and while standing in the back of the old car with my cheek resting on the back of my mother's seat, I sighed deeply, and said, "Poor Paul." My mother, naturally, wanted to know what I was talking about. "Paul Harbor," I said very knowingly, with tears in my eyes. " Japan hit him on the head with a bomb today."
Okay, so gimme a break. I was only five years old.
The point is, even though we were only first graders, our teacher tried to tell us what the day meant, and every student in our elementary school stood with head bowed for a moment of silence that day. No matter how limited our understanding, we knew the day was important. We knew someone died. We understood the concept of bombs. And each year after that, as we were reminded by our teachers every December, and stood for that moment of silence, we better understood the significance of the day.
Early Sunday morning, seventy years ago today, Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and destroyed most of our country's destroyers. Caught us unaware. Killed far too many of our sailors and soldiers. And precipitated our country's entrance into World War II.
Most of the survivors of that attack are no longer with us. Most World War II vets are gone. But we should never forget. Schoolchildren no longer stand for a moment of silence. They're no longer taught to remember, respect and appreciate the significance of days like Pearl Harbor Day and of the veterans who lost their lives that day. More's the pity.
So WE must remember. And WE should teach them.
|plane in flames|
|U.S.S. Arizona in flames|
To mark the thirtieth anniversary, the following montage poster was issued:
And along withe the poster, this poem by JO3 Jim Deken, USN:
In the darkest of moments
a nation is wounded,
and pushes on.
Her wounds give her strength
and urge her on to victory.
the wound heals
but leaves a mark.
The mark is her reminder
of what has been and could be again.
She does not forget.
|U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor|
[Except for that last picture, all the Pearl Harbor shots are courtesy of the National Archives.]
Interested in seeing some additional pictures, which evoke an uncanny you-are-there feeling? Please go here
to see an excellent collection of photographs compiled by the Boston Globe last year for the 69th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day.
To complete today's history reminder, how about FDR's speech about the date that will live in infamy?
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. And ... if only for a moment ... please remember all the Pauls.