Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 1941

Today is an important day which I think doesn't often receives the recognition it deserves. Today is the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. My Grandpa was serving in the US Navy in 1941, and he served for a time on USS Arizona, which now sits at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. It is my understanding, that he was transferred off the Arizona shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

My Grandpa died when I was in the 6th grade. I never understood then much about what he did in World War II. I knew he was in the navy, I knew he had some interesting tattoos, but I just wasn't old enough to really understand the significance of the war. Now that I'm older, I wish I had been a bit older then and been able to understand. I know from my mother that he didn't like talking about the war and that even the fireworks at the fourth of July were too difficult for him to be around because the sounds were too similar to the sounds of war. Even though I know it would've been difficult for him, I wish I had been old enough for him to share what he went through with me. It is important for us not to loose the history these brave men experienced.

One of the most amazing experiences for me in recent years was when I spent all of about five minutes on a bus at the airport with a man and his wife who were returning from a reunion of WWII Navy Veterans. He was wearing military medals and such, so I knew they had just come from something significant. When I asked the significance of the items they had, the wife responded "Are you familiar with the story of the Indianapolis?" I was pretty sure I did, in the back of my mind I thought "that's the boat Quint tells a story about in "Jaws", right?" I didn't tell her that for fear of embarrassing myself if I was wrong, but I was right. The Indianapolis was sunk right at the end of the war. A very small number of men survived. Many died because the rescue just didn't come soon enough and the waters were shark infested. As this man told me his story for just the few minutes I was with him, I thought "this is a true hero." I will never forget that bus ride.

So, on this Dec 7 I say thanks to all those who served so bravely then, like my Grandpa Key, and now, like my Cousin Eric. We are in your debt.

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