By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director
In case you missed it, today is December 7 – Pearl Harbor Day. President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the words “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” to refer to the events of December 7, 1941 during his declaration of war on Japan.
I hope that all of you took a moment today to recognize the importance of what happened 69 years ago today on the island of Oahu. I guess I could include myself in the group of people who could say that they have gone through an entire December 7 in the past without thinking about the significance of the day. This year, the date has a new meaning for me and is a day that I will not let myself forget.
Way back in July, my wife Mindy and I took our honeymoon to Hawaii and, while Maui was a perfect relaxing destination, we chose to spend a couple of days among the tourist hustle and bustle in Honululu. The reason: to visit Pearl Harbor.
As Americans, two dates that should stick out in our minds are September 11, 2001 and December 7, 1941. I can say that I had different feelings as I stood on the edge of a gigantic hole at Ground Zero in November of 2004. Those feelings were different because I lived through the experiences of watching the planes hitting the Twin Towers. The scars of the events were still evident in the buildings around ground zero and the large hole in the ground was like a large open wound. That doesn’t mean that Pearl Harbor Day should be any less significant.
Standing by the tranquil blue waters in Hawaii, it’s a little more difficult to understand the full scope of what happened there. Watching the movies of that day helped bring it more into focus. Hearing the tales of destruction and heroism that took place there are hard to ignore. As we entered our transport boat (USS John Finn) to the Arizona Memorial, we were told the story of the individual for which the boat was named, United States Chief Petty Officer John William Finn. Despite being wounded 21 times on December 7, 1941, he continued to man a 50-caliber machine gun and refused treatment until the attack was over. What struck me most was to learn that despite being wounded in such a way, John William Finn, a recipient of the medal of honor, a died peacefully just 38 days prior to my July 4 visit to Pearl Harbor at the age of 100. Simply astounding. Upon docking at the USS Arizona, it all becomes so much more real as you see the ship just feet below the surface. The oil that seeps to the surface is also a reminder of the scars that are present on the now peaceful island. Because of my visit, I will not forget the significance of this day and those who lost their lives 69 years ago.
I figured I would end my post on a much lighter note by looking forward to Christmas and talking about my tree.
I always had fake trees growing up since my Dad’s allergies wouldn’t permit us to have a real tree. Kind of anti-climactic I guess. Last year, I bought my first real tree and had the experience of decorating it, but the tree was located at Mindy’s house and we were not yet living together so I really only enjoyed the tree for two days at the most.
On Sunday, we decorated our tree for this year and we have already thoroughly enjoyed its presence in our home. I guess I never noticed how little a fake tree meant to me until I realized how much I love a real one. I wondered a little last night if it is appropriate to name your tree? But, before I mentioned this to Mindy, I decided perhaps I should shelve that idea before I made an idiot of myself. Perhaps I like our tree too much.
By the way, I would have named it Bart. Not sure why. Happy Holidays everyone!