Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor

Today is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

I was not yet born, so have no first-hand memories of the event. My parents, however, sometimes talked about that day, telling how their friends who were in the Reserves dropped what they were doing and left immediately to answer the call of duty.

What were my parents and their friends doing together on that day?  They were in Danvers, in the woods on a hill in north Danvers, clearing and cutting ski trails for the coming winter.

Growing up near that hill, I heard that story many times. I didn't hear details of the horrors of that day, nor did I hear much about the context in which that attack happened. I just knew from my parents that something big and significant had happened, unexpectedly, one day in December some years ago while they and their active, outdoor-loving friends were busy clearing trails. And suddenly friends needed to leave, for much more urgent tasks.  One detail I don't know is HOW the news reached them. Did someone have a radio? or a pager of some sort?

Whenever someone mentions Pearl Harbor, my mind jumps back to that long-ago story.  I try to imagine what my father, mother, and their friends must have been thinking and feeling the day.  (They never discussed such with me.)  I do know that my father shifted to war-related work in a lab at MIT, instead of working in his shop that produced hearing aids. And I believe that his friends who went to war all returned alive.