Wednesday, December 7, 2016

75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

75 years ago in Hawaii on a peaceful early Sunday morn
Our nation’s innocence and tranquility was quickly shorn
Two waves of planes 45 minutes apart launched from six carriers some  225 miles away
Without warning attacked Pearl Harbor and surrounding airfields that bloody day
110 minutes of living hell in which almost 2400 Americans died
The Japanese dogs of war released using Honolulu radio stations as guides
The Pacific Fleet minus its carriers soon lay in total shambles
Against all odds of detection the Japanese had won the bet-the-farm gamble
With death and destruction all around, the only silver lining in those stormy, bloody clouds
Is that Nagumo turned home and a third wave against the oil storage tanks and dry docks was not  allowed
A surprise attack without a declaration of war
A déjà vu to the Russo-Japanese War started in 1904
So few of the young men and women who on that day saw the bombs fall and the torpedoes strike
Remain still alive to pass on in vivid detail their bravery and what the carnage was like
At Pearl Harbor today at 7:55 when the attack began a moment of silence, presentation of the colors and the National Anthem sung
Survivors in wheel chairs, with canes or still standing unassisted marking the day when the war for us had begun
Old men and women at least 92 or 93 years of age
Thick glasses, hearing aids, lost muscle weight and tears for the battles they would later wage
While across the nation a growing tidal wave of anger and justified rage
No if ands or buts American almost as one united to step up to the warring stage
No vows to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice or to a negotiated settlement seek
Only a call to Congress for an immediate declaration of war with only carriers left in the Pacific Fleet
A “day of infamy” noted when the Japanese were everywhere on the march and our future looked pretty bleak
Guam, Wake Island and finally the Philippines lost--a string of painful defeat and defeat
Those men in wheel chairs back then were anxious for revenge not a question of “if” only when
A nation united as one, not cowed or broken only a slight temporary bend
As the notes of the National Anthem faded away and the saluting hands were crisply lowered to their side
Watching on TV the son of a WWII chief petty officer for those ancient warriors of Pearl felt his eyes well up with pride
Praying that when the diminishing band of survivors the rest of us, some children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will never forget
The lessons learned that day and honor the service of vets present and past for to them for our freedoms we owe a great debt
© December 6, 2016, Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet
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