Hello, friends! It’s been a while. Through all the craziness of NaNoWriMo (blog post to come!), Thanksgiving fun, and Christmas decorations, my little Jumping Bean has kind of fallen behind.
But today I wanted to talk about something different.
As you probably know, it’s the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
No, I’m not a history expert. I haven’t watched every single History Channel special on the subject.
But I do know that this event shakes me to my very core. And not just Pearl Harbor, but World War II as a whole.
My great grandfather was a soldier on the beautifully clear Sunday morning in Hawaii. No one knew the slaughter that was to come.
But I’m not here to discuss the brutality and bloody warfare that took 2,000 American lives that day.
I’m here to talk about this generation of people.
These men and women of humble spirits, who displayed the integrity described in the Bibles they read.
These men joined the armies and navies not because it was “cool” like Call of Duty makes it seem. I won’t say they all joined because they wanted to preserve the freedoms of our nation, but they most certainly didn’t join to gain social status.
Although I don’t remember much about my great grandfather, my mom always reflects on how he never talked about the things he saw. She never heard the stories, the memories, the nightmares, that played in his mind.
Men didn’t boast about this war.
There was nothing, in their mind, to boast about.
My great grandfather, who worked on a Navy landing ship, only told one story to my mom.
The jets would come to land on the ship, but occasionally wouldn’t stop in time. They’d go careening off the edge of the landing strip and into the icy water below.
He could remember seeing the sharks immediately swarming the fallen craft.
And that was it.
The problem wasn’t the crash, but the flesh-eating creatures below.
This was the kind of thing my great grandfather was faced with, and who knows how many other horribly tragic events?
And what about the other millions, or even billions, of untold stories that have died with these amazing men?
My point in all of this is just to see the character of these people. I was listening to NPR today and they were interviewing a 103-year-old man, who was 21 during the Pearl Harbor attack.
He was talking about how the only reason he survived was because he stepped off the ship.
“The first eleven minutes was pure fire.” He said. “I remember just trying to get to the ships and as I went, I was passing by bodies. I tried to look at each one’s dog tags and was just repeating these names over and over to myself so I could write to their families and tell them what really happened.”
He went on to say, “Then we realized they (the Japanese) were trying to get to the gas tankards, but we had to keep going. I knew that was it–I was dead. And in that moment I felt such amazing peace and I told God “I’m about to meet You soon.” And I’ve never felt that since, so I know that when I die, I’ll have that peace again.”
Hearing the humility and gentleness of someone so brave and courageous was almost deafening. I’m still tearing up over it.
So as you remember and celebrate the events of today, just remember the character that these men and women had during this time.
Don’t forget about the stories they’ve never told.
And don’t just remember the physical sacrifices they’ve made, but the emotional ones.
Think of how many men survived the war but wished they hadn’t.
Think about the nightmares they had and the wives who stayed up for hours while they wept.
The cost of war wasn’t one side losing, but a single man’s life that was altered forever.
To close, I pose a question: How many of these men had to die so that our generation could see war as a live-action game?