For an ex-Navy man like I am, Pearl Harbor Day is especially meaningful. Even though those sailors died before I was born, I consider them shipmates and brothers.
I remember how Sunday mornings were what we called “holiday routine” days. Except for standing watch if you were in the duty section, your day was pretty much your own. Why you were even allowed to sleep in. But on that particular day all those years ago, the holiday routine turned into a living hell without warning.
Many were killed outright by bomb and torpedo explosions, others by machine gun strafings from enemy planes. But for anyone like me who worked and stood watches in the engineering spaces like boiler rooms and engine rooms, (aka snipes) the sadness over the death of so many who were trapped below deck is especially painful.
Once the general quarters’ alarm sounded those snipes hit the deck and raced to their emergency stations. Battle Stations were set and all water-tight doors and hatches closed to contain any flooding. Sadly, with such severe damage, some of the ships sank in minutes and others capsized and rolled over trapping those sailors in the engineering spaces.
Those killed never knew who their attackers were, or even why they attacked. Yet, like all military personnel the world over, they did their jobs.
Always remember and honor those who gave so much, and are giving so much even today.