A day that will live in infamy

Seventy years ago today, America’s self-imposed isolationism, to which it had managed to cling for twenty years, ended when the Japanese launched their savage surprise attack against Pearl Harbor.  All told, 2,402 people died.  It was, until 9/11, the deadliest attack on American soil.  A mere six months later, the American Navy met the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway.  While that battle did not wipe out Japanese sea power then and there, it nevertheless spelled the beginning of the end for that power.  The Japanese never recovered, and the war’s end was a foregone conclusion — never mind that it took another three and a half years to achieve.

I take Pearl Harbor Day personally.  My mother was living in Indonesia at the time and the Japanese, flush with their devastating kill record against America on December 7, moved swiftly to take over Singapore, Malaya, the Philippines and Indonesia.  My mom spent the war years in a Japanese concentration camp.  Pearl Harbor day was certainly a day of infamy for her, and one that colored (and continues to color) the rest of her life.  She soldiered on, but never recovered.

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  • suek

    What was she doing in Indonesia??

    Have you written up a history of her life? and of your Dad’s – as much as your Mom will tell you? You think you know it – and you probably do – but if you don’t write it down, it will be lost to your children and your children’s children.

    I strongly suggest you put your writing skills to work – our entire culture has changed so much in the last 100 years…!

    The father of one of our employees died the day before Thanksgiving. His daughter – who works for us – was his sole family member, and they’ve lived together for as long as we’ve known her and then some. She never married. Caring for him has been a real burden the last few months, but she persevered until he fell getting out of bed and had to be taken to the hospital with a system that was shutting down.

    That’s not the point, though. My point is that in their many conversations about his life, the most amazing thing to her was that in his youth his mode of transportation was by horse. As it was for almost everyone in his small community. They had no telephones. He was 95. Look where we are today!

    What’s coming down the road for the next 100 years??

  • suek

    PS. I didn’t do this for my parents, and I’m sorry now that I missed that opportunity. I realize now that although I thought I “knew” them, really I didn’t. I knew _them_ but I didn’t really know anything _about_ them.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I don’t believe there is any corner of my Mom’s life I don’t know.  You wouldn’t guess it from my wordiness, but I can be a good listener, and she is a great talker.  I’ve got to run, but I’ll try to find the post I once wrote with my Mom’s story.