December 7th


Today is Pearl Harbor Day. On December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was bombed by the Japanese–without provocation and without having declared War on our country. I’m sure you have all seen at least one of the movies or documentaries. I wasn’t around then but I always felt as though I had been.

When I was in grammar school (elementary school it’s called these days) I wasn’t more than seven or eight. The class subscribed to a children’s version of Readers Digest. Today’s parents would not allow such a version to be in the classroom. Too bad, today’s kids don’t know squat about history or geography. Nevertheless, we did read about things that were happening in the world and about people and about reality.

One story really made an impact. It was about a soldier and his battle to come back after severe burns he obtained during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He told about the bombing and the deaths and destruction. The horror on the ground, and his horror of being nearly burned alive. The pain and the treatment that 1941 medicine could provide was practically nothing. All they had was morphine. They didn’t know how to induce a coma so he wouldn’t have to suffer. And the surgeries he had over the years….I have been searching the Readers Digest archives. I want to read that story once more–as an adult. Every December 7th, I think about that story. Some how, call it Kismet or whatever, I defended my dissertation and earned my doctorate on December 7th.

I have never forgotten….

13 thoughts on “December 7th

  1. You’re not saying you were 7 or 8 on December 7, 1941, are you? That would make around 80!

    Also, when you talk about “children’s version of Readers Digest, are you referring to My Weekly Reader? That’s what we used to have when I was in elementary school. I loved it.

    • Doobster, you man, I said right in the beginning I wasn’t around then.

      Also, it was not the weekly reader. It was an actual selective version of the Digest. It came only once each month and our folks paid for it. Not every kid had a subscription because you had to be an advanced reader. I skipped a couple of years.

    • Doobster, I’m not 80 something. I’m younger than you. Not that you’re 80 something. You are a young 60 something. By the way. I’ve done some digging and apparently Readers Digest put out something called Childrens Digest. It eventually went to the regular magazine format but when I read it it looked just like the Readers Digest of today, but less stuff in it. No tobacco adds, etc. I had to email Readers Digest because they don’t seem to have the archives online or I can’t find them. I can’t pinpoint when I read the story because I skipped 2 grades and not consecutively.. I can describe in detail my mother’s 1962 Plymouth Fury in detail, but I can’t remember what I did last week. Lucy

      • I don’t remember reading Reader’s Digest, but I do remember that my parents had a number of Reader’s Digest bound condensed books on their bookshelves. I never understood that.

  2. Dear young Lucy, because that story is memorable to you, likely it is to others, and I bet it’s been republished elsewhere. Besides, Readers Digest usually culled its stories from other places anyway, if I recall correctly. I’d try sticking all the facts you can muster from it into one Google window and see if it will spit to you another publication of the story. Worth a shot. Sounds like a great piece, my friend.

  3. The Bombing of Pearl Harbor was a crime of great proportion, instigated by a few war mongers and executed by like-minded men in uniform. It was repaid in full with another crime, set into motion by another set of war lords, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In both cases innocent people were killed; collateral damage in today’s parlance.
    War will never solve any conflict. On the contrary, it is bound to start a new one even before the last one reaches its conclusion. It is a cycle of death begets death.

    • I agree with you. But it wasn’t just Pearl Harbor that they bombed. They bombed islands all the way back to japan–a lot of innocent lives.The Americans were warned by outside sources but the information never was taken seriously enough. And Admiral Yamamoto, if history is to be believed, was not fond of the plan to bomb Pearl harbor, particularly without a declaration of war. His famous words: ” I am afraid we have awakened a sleeping giant.” That’s all anecdotal, of course, told to Americans so that they could see the loss as something of a victory. Lucy

      • The Japanese was at fault for initiating that offensive. The majority of their leaders back then was on the colonization mode: surrender or die, submit and follow.
        My country was one of their victims. American brothers-in-arms died side by side with my countrymen in Bataan. It was a war we will never forget.
        As a side episode of that tragedy, many Japanese Americans at that time were treated as alleged traitors, rounded up and jailed. Most, if not all, were innocent. But they suffered because of the war’s consequences. That was not fair.
        We should have learned our lesson. Our leaders should have learned from history. It is time they refrain from starting new conflicts because of hidden agendas. The aggrieved will always fight back and we will all be victims of our leaders’ follies.

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