Thursday, December 07, 2006

An infamous day

As my Father tells it, it was his father that woke him up in the early morning hours of that infamous Sunday, and not the loud explosions, or terrified screams, or the Mitsubishi A6M Zeros buzzing overhead.

My grandfather scrambled his entire family onto the shaky tin roof of their plantation home in Puunene, Maui so they could see what the commotion was about at a neighboring island.

My grandfather, of course, knew what the commotion was about. He recognized the red dot painted on the underside of the wings of the planes that periodically flew overhead and had by now filled the smoke-filled skies around Pearl Harbor.

My dad tells me that his father was cursing at the top of his lungs, screaming obscenities at the pilots who shared an ancestral heritage with his own family.

He made my father, my aunts and uncle, and my grandmother watch the entire attack, commenting that this was something important that they needed to all see and remember, because this was going to change everything.

I remember visiting Pearl Harbor as a boy with my family and Grandparents. We marveled at the glass bottom boat that took us out to the Arizona Memorial. Dad pointed out the oil still bubbling up from the sunken ships belly and we all paid our respects at the marble slab wall listing the names of fallen sailors and marines.

At the time I wasn't aware enough to understand the importance of this place to my family, my country, my home. When I was a kid, things of this nature weren't discussed openly among family.

When I eventually do take my girls to Pearl, I wonder what I'll tell them when they inquire what this place is, or why we came here.

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