The Black Pearl; Remembering Pearl Harbor
What happened at Pearl Harbor?
Pearl Harbor, known to natives as Pu'ola, is located on the Hawaiian Island, Oahu. It is a Naval Base that serves as the Headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Over 2300 Americans (and 64 Japanese) died and over 1100 more were wounded, during Japan's surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it at the time, it has remained true... December 7, 1941 was "a date which will live in infamy."
The attack on Pearl Harbor was debilitating to the United States Navy, and other Armed Forces. The United States lost supplies and many ships, including the USS Atlantic. More than sixty civilians were killed.
It was a turning point not just for the US, but for the world, as it was the primary reason that the US decided to enter into war. The next day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war against Japan. Thus, entering the World War (World War II).
My visit to Pearl Harbor
I have been very fortunate to have traveled to Hawaii twice. Both times, I have gone to Oahu, and have visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Words can not describe the impression that the memorial made on me, and the overwhelming sense of pride that I had in the service members that I know, when I saw the breathtaking site. To see the graves of thousands of people -to see their names clearly written in stone- was overpowering, and somewhat hard to truly grasp.
The last time that I was there, in January of 2004, I had the privilege of interviewing a man that was alive during -and witnessed- the attacks. He worked at the memorial site. I remember not being able to ask many questions, as I was listening so intently, and taking in every word. I could not believe what I was hearing first hand. You know, you see things in movies and read about events in books, but -even so- it sometimes does not "hit you" until you yourself experience it. Of course, I did not (experience what he had), but to see the expressions on that man's face and to hear the guilt, sadness, anger, and bewilderness in his voice, made it much more real to me.
Meeting that man helped open my eyes to the true inspiration of the site, and the heroes laid to rest; the sacrifice that they had made for their country...
This one's for you, Gpa
Upon my return to the "mainland", I wrote a poem.
My grandfather, whom had served in WWII, passed away three years ago. While gathering his belongings, my mother and aunt found a book in his apartment. I still do not understand how, but my poem about Pearl Harbor had been published in that book, and my grandfather not only owned it, but more-than-likely read it... I hope that he knows just how much he meant to me, and that that poem was written not just for those that died during the attacks, but for everyone that served our country during that dismal time.
So, "Gpa", on the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I honor you and all those that served, with "The Black Pearl"...
The Black Pearl - January 2004
Screaming in constant bangs
Echoes of silenced souls.
...Untouchable, yet irreplaceable, in the heart of a country...
Heroism, not to go to waste.
Tears flood the water,
salt the world can taste.
Children without a father
Tears at the seam of a nation.
In infamy it lives.
Time fades, words linger.
Stories of annihilation retold.
Wounds constantly reopening.
Betrayal, not to be forgotten,
For thousands of lips... forever sealed.
Copyright Veronica Farkas
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