As the greatest generation dies off, so do their stories. Of course it’s just the way things go. History tells us Pearl Harbor wasn’t the greatest loss of life in a single day in even that war–2,400 Americans, and of course, a much smaller number of Japanese. History also tells us that wounds heal. Not many folks my age and younger hold animosity for Japan.
But I was reminded this morning of a story my (now departed) mom told me. It’s not dramatic, but I like to chronicle what I learned from her when I can.
More or less she said, “I was at the movies with your Aunt Carolyn. When we walked onto the street, everyone was talking about a place called Pearl Harbor. We had no idea where that was, and assumed something had happened overseas. None of our friends had heard of Pearl Harbor. When we got home, Daddy told us that our neighbor, Jimmy, was on the Arizona, and was dead. It didn’t make sense. He pulled out a map of the world, and showed us Hawaii. We went down to our neighbor’s house, and they already had a swag with a black bow on their door. I think I grew up a lot that day.”