Letter to the Editor: Remember Pearl Harbor
December 8, 2009
I remember Dec. 7, 1941. I was 4 years old, lived on a hill above Puget Sound in Western Washington. My brother Kit was 7 months old, napping in his crib, when my Mom let out a shriek, and began rushing around the house, covering the windows with blankets, and wailing, and#8220;The Japanese have bombed Pearl harbor in Hawaii!and#8221;
I remember her calling outside to the carpenter who was doing some work on our house. and#8220;Oh, my God,and#8221; he gasped, dropped his tools and ran to his truck. and#8220;Gotta get to the Navy Base,and#8221; he yelled as he tore down the hill. He was a Naval reservist. We never saw him again.
I remember the Navy P-47 Hell Cat fighter planes blasting low over the top of our hill, swooping down over the water looking for submarines, (later in, in June, they would fly over us upside-down, with their canopies pulled back, waving at my Mom sunbathing on our lawn.)
I remember the Army P-38 twin-engine and#8220;Lightningand#8221; Fighter-bombers flying past us on the way out to sea to patrol far out against possible invaders. I still keep a model of that plane on my dresser, to remind me of all the sacrifices made by several million men and women to keep small boys safe.
I remember my dad rushing home and then rushing out again to volunteer, and coming back home dejected because the draft board had reminded him that he was the only dentist for 30 miles in any direction, and besides he had served in World War I, so they felt he should stay home. I remember my mom smiling as she consoled him.
I remember a relative giving me a real sailor cap when he came home on leave, and my parents having me photographed in a sailor suit. That picture still hangs in my office, over my Navy Honorable Discharge Certificate.
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I remember the Army driving up to our house on the hill, pulling a large anti-aircraft gun on wheels, and telling my Mom they were putting it in the forest behind our house. I thought that was exciting! My Mom did not.
I’ll end with this: one sunny morning in 1945 I walked down the hill to the road to get the paper for my mom, pulled it out of the little round box, opened it up and saw peace! That one word covered the whole front page.