Opinion: December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy”

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Dec 072012

The USS Arizona where 1,177 souls were lost on Dec. 7, 1941.

Just 71 years ago, Pearl Harbor was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.

The overall death toll reached 2,350, including 68 civilians, and 1,178 injured.

My mother was a young girl in Bridgeport, skipping home from the movies when she saw her mother quickly walking toward her and her siblings.

She knew something was wrong.

My Gramma said, “We’re at war.”

The terror that my mother felt is something she will never forget.

Here is this little girl with a thousand thoughts going through her head — she could visualize her home being bombed, soldiers marching through the streets of her town, taking her family prisoner.

What did this mean? The United States was now involved in WWII.

Many young men were going off to war. Families dreaded the messenger coming with a telegram. Telegrams during wartime were always bad news.

They would watch as their neighbors received one. A woman crumpling to her knees, with an anguishing scream.

My family received a few as well — my great uncles.

War is hell and so many of our senior residents most likely can remember where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed, Just as my generation can remember where they were when Kennedy was shot.

Today flags are at half staff in memory of the men who died in that ambush. Say a prayer for them and all the souls who paid the ultimate price for our freedom during WWII.

One of my dearest friends, Peter Horbick, served in the Army in WWII. He eventually shared his story with me in vivid detail. Those who were there never forget. Peter died several years ago, but I will never forget him or his story.

Likewise we should never take the sacrifices of our veterans for granted.