It's a day that most people don't recall,
But so many Americans had taken a fall.
So many lives were taken on that day,
And very few survivors are now gray.
It was a peaceful morning calm as can be,
Until the tragedy no one was able to see.
The world was at war but it wasn't our fight,
But that would soon change overnight.
It was a land of beauty and such paradise,
But it would soon be held in Satan's vice.
The air was filled with an ocean breeze,
But our tranquility they would soon cease.
The enemy arrived with a sneak attack,
And we didn't have enough time to react.
They came in so fast and had hit us hard,
Because they caught us off guard.
As quickly as they arrived they were gone,
In this vicious assault right after dawn.
So many innocent people were killed,
Leaving many voids to never be filled.
As the enemy returned back out to sea,
There was devastation for the world to see.
The mission now was to rescue and save,
And find others who were bound for a grave.
When it was over there was only one thought,
To return the wrath that they had brought.
We weren't a nation at peace any more,
After the Japanese had just declared war.
Pearl Harbor by Jon M. Nelson
(Thanks to my friend Lydia for introducing me to this beautiful poem)
We've been on the move quite a bit the last several months, but this last week I happened to be in San Antone for a couple of days and was thrilled to finally make it to the Pearl Harbor Day program at the Nimitz Museum. Everything the museum puts on is done with excellence and honor to the veterans of World War Two. Their December 7 program (with keynote speaker, Captain Clarence Franklin Jr. US Navy) was a beautiful memorial service recalling the memory of the 2,403 men who lost their lives and the 1,178 men wounded when the Japanese so treacherously attacked us at Pearl Harbor, 76 years ago.
It was a great program and regardless of the terrible weather, it was standing room only.
A delightful surprise was seeing my friend, one of the sweetest Texans and a Pearl Harbor veteran, Jim Leavelle. Mr. Leavelle was stationed on the USS Whitney at Pearl Harbor on December 7. Thankfully, his ship was untouched during the bombing and the crew spared. But many details of that day remain etched in his memory.
Mr. Leavelle is also known from his work as a former Dallas Homicide Detective and "the man in the tan suit" from the iconic photo of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.
But even more than the "famous" events Mr. Leavelle was a participant in, it's the lesser known stories he has to tell which I enjoy the most. The stories of life as a detective in the 1950s and 60s and 97 years chocked full of incredible experiences have kept me for hours, listening to them. He's a wonderful man and real American National Treasure.
Thank you to the National Museum of the Pacific and the Nimitz Foundation for putting on such an excellent Pearl Harbor Day program.