The Day of Infamy is Fading

Today, of course, marks the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I say, “of course,” but for many young people now, it’s not a matter of course. It’s a matter of history, and World War II has been consigned to the distant past. That is the natural order of things, and is no reflection on them.

I, however, and all my fellow baby-boomers are grandchildren of “the War.” We had no direct experience, but it was part of our lives. The War defined our parents, coloring as it did their perspective on life and on Life. “What did you do during the War?” was a common starting point in any acquaintance. The War was like an old clock at your grandparents’ house. It had always been there and it quietly marked the time, and as grandchildren, we never really thought about it because it WAS always there. And the time it kept began on December 7, 1941.

That clock is winding down, however. It has never meant as much to our children as it does to us, and it means even less to our grandchildren. That’s the way of things. For many of us, our parents are gone. Their loves, their lives, their experiences consigned to some part of the Cosmos that, like the most distant stars, can only be glimpsed briefly out of the corner of one’s eye. When our parents died, we sorted through their effects, consigning many to the trash, but most of us kept that old clock. There is a certain rhythm in us that comes from its ticking, a steady quiet beat that we absorbed as children. When it’s time for our children to sort through our effects, however, they’ll probably see that old clock as just an old clock, and send it to the auctioneer or to the dump.

Because of my love for the music, film, and fashion of the 1940s, my younger daughter Sarah often laughingly accuses me of being out of time; of being from the wrong decade. Yet, it is she who keeps the wedding photo of her grandparents by her bed. My mom in a regular dress; my dad in his sailor’s uniform before he shipped out aboard the USS Gleaves, first to hunt German submarines in the Atlantic and then to escort larger ships in the Pacific. Perhaps Sarah, sees a couple of distant stars more clearly than even she realizes. I know of several other young people who seem to respond to that ticking that marks the time of World War II. I am grateful for that and glad to know them, for while it’s natural to forget, somebody, somewhere has to keep alive the memory of a bunch of boys who saved the world.

If you’ve ever wondered what that Sunday afternoon of December 7th was like if you were simply sitting in your “parlor,” as my grandmother used to call it, listening to the radio, here is a chronology of the day from authentic history.com that includes actual news clips and other radio programming. Take a few moments and listen to some of that day. Rewind the old clock so that it ticks for at least a few minutes.

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About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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7 Responses to The Day of Infamy is Fading

  1. shirley says:

    I love this Austin! I was just 3 years old when it began so didn’t know much but as I grew and became more aware I remember the scarey times listening to the battery radio and they would call for a blackout. We would turn the oil lamps out and have our own blackout although I’m sure these were meant for big cities – of course us country folks didn’t know that. It was very scarey for me as I was very young and had no idea us the enemy would attack soon. I imagine it is much like today’s world. Although our chances of having a terrorist attack are pretty slim there is a fear within each of us especially the young people. The one thing I do remember was rashioning foods, especially sugar although many foods were hard to get. Please write a book about this Austin and put the human factor into it. You have already have a great start!

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    • Thank you for sharing your memories, Shirley. It’s funny that you should mention a book. I have a draft of a novel that focuses on five young people who are dealing with the usual difficulties of growing up, when Pearl Harbor occurs. I’m going to be looking for a couple of reviewers to help me with it, in case you’re interested. Oh, and that job pays nothing!

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      • shirley says:

        Story of my life! $#/&€. So now I can’t even get credit for pitching the idea to you. Lol Seroously I don’t usually get excited about war stories but have found if they are told through the eyes of those who lived it, it becomes an impressive window to the past that we regular humans can relate to. As I said as a little girl in the country during that time, I was afraid much like young children and even adults feel these days. A timely project! Go for it!

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      • I’ve already gone for it! Now we need an agent or publisher to go for it.

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  2. Don Hoover says:

    While I appreciate Shirley’s comments, we need to be seriously on our guard for possible terror attacks. It is sad that we have to live this way, & I realize we must go about our business, but we cannot take for granted that a strike could occur here at anytime, 9/11 being the perfect example. With that said Austin, thanks for the reminder we sometimes forget.

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  3. Don Hoover says:

    While I appreciate Shirley’s comments, we must always be on guard against possible terrorist attacks. Our lives must go on, but to take for granted a strike couldn’t happen here, (9/11 being the perfect example) would be unrealistic. My heart goes out to the people in California who lost their lives by senseless cowards. With that said Austin, thanks for the reminder of what took place in history yesterday

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