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….