|Being a baby boomer, I personally do
not remember Pearl Harbor as all of
you old folks do, but allow me to share some memories I have regarding
Pearl Harbor. In the chair cubby hole of my father's roll up desk, he kept
a wooden box that had a lid and in this box, he stored some things that
were to have a great impression on me. My dad served on the USS
KITKUN BAY CVE-71 (commonly referred to by his children, much to his
chagrin, as the Kitchen Bay). He survived the Battle
off Samar and several kamakizi attacks on the CVE.
As the oldest of 9 children, we were
always running thru the house and playing games and of course hide and
seek was one of them. When I was small and only had a small number of siblings,
we could get into small spaces. I would hide in the chair well of the desk
and pull the chair in, sitting on this box.
As children are wont to do, eventually
I decided to explore this box but there was nothing in it that I wanted.
Just some old clippings, some old books with some kind of stamps and so
One day, my father saw me with the box
open and he asked me if I would like to know what was in it. I did not
really care all that much, but something about the way he asked made me
And this little wooden box was to be
the beginning of my real interest in this Great Nation of ours and our
history. My dad first took out the yellowed clippings and explained to
me the day America was attacked. He told me of the shock and anger and
of the rise of patriotism. He would later tell me of the changes in our
country, the internment of the Japanese and of his joining the service.
Also in that box were little books of
rations stamps. There were stamps for butter, sugar, gasoline and rubber.
At this time, there were no synthetic rubber compounds from which to make
all the military equipment, real rubber was used and it had to come from
overseas. Rationing was accepted as a fact for my parents and others of
WWII, it was just what was done to win the war.
In that box also was my fathers first
class crow. He was supposed to sew it on the day he got discharged at the
end of the war. I saw pictures of him in his whites, traveling by train
to the West Coast to catch his ship.
There were his ribbons, packed away,
in his mind another day, another time, in many ways a time all wished had
not come for it changed the soul of America and showed her vulnerability
to attack from afar. It showed America that she had real enemies who could
carry the attack to our very shores.
Within this box of history were a few
more items, one was quite curious, it was a round metal casing and had
some darken leather inside. There was a little clip to hold something and
a handle that when turned rotated the disc inside the metal housing. I
picked it up and wondered aloud what it might be. That, my father explained
is for sharpening razors. During the war we could not buy as many razor
blades because metal was needed for the war, so we used this to resharpened
the blades so we could use them longer.
Over the years, as I learned more of
my father's story and as I learned that my mother had worked in a defense
plant, I developed an even greater appreciation of the effort that went
into saving this Nation. And it was an effort not all that different from
the one entered into by our founding fathers. With the declaration of Independence,
our forefathers, the signers signed their death warrants and they pledged
their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
In this little box of memories was an
example of my father's pledge of his life, his fortune and his sacred honor
in the name of Freedom.
How much I learned from that little
box and how appreciative I am of all who contributed in any way to provide
us with the country that we have today.