Monday, December 7, 2009

Remember Pearl Harbor

I heard FDR say, on a radio where I was visiting with some friends, " a date which will live in infamy"and in a flash, I knew World War II had begun,  I knew my true love had been drafted the previous January, and his tour of duty was to be for one year. He was now an infantry man with more years staring us in the face. I had no idea of where he was at that moment.

He turned out to be in an elevator in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on leave from Camp Shelby. He took the high road, as always, and joked, "I know Pearl Schwartz, but who is Pearl Harbor"? Then he sent me a telegram, "War or no war, I still love you." I think you paid by the word for a telegraphed message.

 I didn't know that our friend. Leonard York, was actually at Pearl Harbor. He was one of the 1282 wounded that day, and he died many years later of injuries he sustained that day.

I, also, did not know we were part of the "greatest generation".Tom Brokaw had to tell us so, in 1998. At the time, I was hard pressed to believe we were any greater than any other generation. But that was the year my true love died, age 83; and I remembered the details of our lives. We probably were special,  never really talking about that day or those years, but always looking. hopefully, to the future.

So today, I salute us all for our duty to our country, but my eligible grandchildren have no duty to Afghanistan. The way war is waged today is different, but it is still war.

And as FDR also said, "I hate war."


  1. We owe you so much that we cannot begin to thank you. My generation thinks of Vietnam as our war, and yet we still remember WW2 and the Korean War because our parents lost their friends and their lives. I just wonder: why does anyone believe that violence works as a means of resolving disputes? And who gets to decide that "faith" of any kind is or can be a basis for violence?

  2. Today, someone around my age, Diana, was muttering, "is it December 7 or 8?" I said, "December 7," and we both said in unison, "Pearl Harbor Day." She was with a young woman in her early twenties and I said, "I wonder if this girl's generation knows it as Pearl Harbor Day?" So Diana asked her what day it was. The girl hemmed and hawed and finally came up with "D-Day." Old enough to be embarrassed that she didn't know her history, but too young to know it without being good at history...