Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remembering Pearl Harbor

gold star

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the entrance of the United States into World War II.  While the numbers of casualties that day were staggering, and bear remembering, I decided to re-post something I wrote a year ago that portrays those casualties on a personal level.

Several times now, I have visited the National Cemetery of the Pacific, on Oahu.  I’ve walked among the headstones and read the names of some of those who died that December day, so long ago.  Who were they, I wonder?  And who did they leave behind?


Every Year On Christmas

In dreams we’ll always be together
Beneath the moonlit sky
We mustn’t say goodbye
Each night I’ll push aside the mountains
I’ll drain the oceans dry
We mustn’t say goodbye
I promise you that when the postman rings
My heart will be inside
The envelope he brings
Oh, don’t you know the memories we gathered
Can never, never die
We mustn’t say goodbye

With a sigh, she sat down at last, in his chair, covered in the plaid that didn’t  go with anything else in their living room.  The chair, despite her protests, he’d insisted on getting.  She had nicknamed it “Sore Thumb.”  She was tired, but at the end of another day, this day, she was proud of herself.  She had survived another Christmas without him.

In her hands she held a letter.  She’d been very careful with it these past few years, and she reminded herself  not to cry over it and smudge the ink.  She read it, trying hard to make believe she was reading it for the first time.

December 1, 1941


…I scarcely can believe it!  Only two short weeks and you will be here, celebrating Christmas with me! It is hard to keep my mind on anything else. I am counting the days, my love…

Your sailor.

Despite her best intentions, her tears fell. She closed her eyes, leaned her head back, and found comfort in the softness of his chair, covered in the plaid that never would match anything  in their living room.  A sore thumb.  A constant reminder of him.  She was glad.


Song excerpt from “We Mustn’t Say Goodbye”  (Al Dubin/James V. Monaco)
From the film “Stage door Canteen” 1943


National Post News


  1. Really lovely! And I love the look of your blog, very nice indeed! Suzie xxx

  2. I would love to visit that cemetary!

    Such a bittersweet story...

  3. A lovely tribute. :-) Hard to believe it's been 70 years.

  4. I can't believe it's been 70 years. Especially reading your post, the story you wrote has a way of bringing the day closer. The years just fade away when the personal human touch is brought to history, don't they.

  5. Suzie, it is so wonderful to be blessed with your visit! Thanks, and hugs:)

    Lisa, Every time I've been there I've cried. The graves that really get to me are the ones that hold several young men-and all unknown.

    Thanks Melissa:) I hope the day is never forgotten-even in another 70 years.

    Joanne-I agree. It's the stories behind the numbers that make any disaster seem to hit closer to home. So many stories that day.

  6. I had to suck in my breath at this:
    "She was tired, but at the end of another day, this day, she was proud of herself. She had survived another Christmas without him."

    It's an odd thing to be proud of but I know this feeling so well. When my brother's memory hits me, I often hold my breath till the thought passes, sometimes remembering him is unbearable.

  7. Kim, oh sweetie, I wish I could make it all better. Even though I can't possibly, you are always in my thoughts, dearest. Hugs:)