Among my cherished possessions is an old work schedule for the shift my Dad was on at the Baltimore Gas and Electric. I kept it because it showed his remarkable penmanship, which he used when lettering his great handmade crafts or writing me a note about how many faults he found with Jerry Lewis being so egotistical as to write an autobiographical sketch without mentioning his partner of ten years, Dean Martin. (I wish I had saved that note! A quiet and humble man, my father was appalled at any display of immodesty and flamboyance. So look whom he raised...)
As I was saying before I interrupted myself, I have this old schedule framed, and it shows who was working on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the day which still lives in infamy. It was that day that Japan attacked America's naval base in Pearl Harbor. Some 2,400 Americans were killed, with 1,100 wounded, as four of our battleships were sunk and four more heavily damaged, along with many other ships and planes.
Of course, I have often wondered about the men who were working with Dad that day 71 years ago. How many of them went off to war and did not come back? Dad was in the Navy within a year and served for the duration on a repair vessel in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Beyond that, I don't know much about his war experiences. Most of the baby boomers I grew up with said the same thing: their dads heard the call to duty on this day in 1941 and went off to serve, and came back without much to say about it all.
To honor them, those who went and were lucky enough to return, and those whose lives were given in the defeat of the Axis powers, the least we can do today, in my opinion, would be to give a little thought to all those men and women and what they did. Thanks for taking the time today, Pearl Harbor Day.