Saturday, 6 December 1941. Left to right: Jack Miller, John Szwerda, Clifford Olds of the USS West Virginia. The next morning, Olds, a Seaman 1st Class from Stanton, North Dakota, was dead.
I was talking with a young lady this afternoon about the threats that loom over us all and she became upset that some of things she has planned for her life could be swept away in an instant by forces beyond anyone's control (anyone, that is, except the evil bastards who start the murderous wars for power and loot). I explained that sometimes there were things that just happened that were not foreseen, even though they have might been, and were certainly clear in the light of twenty-twenty hindsight.
Take Pearl Harbor, for example. It had been predicted by Homer Lea in a novel back in 1905, and certainly by mid-1941 everyone but the most obtuse or clueless observer understood that the Japanese would attack to secure resources that were being embargoed.
If things proceed in this country the way they are, it will be perfectly understood afterward that they could have been predicted, even avoided -- but too late, always, too late.
It is the innocents, of course, who always suffer worst in any war, but especially in a civil war between former friends and neighbors.For a glimpse at Pearl Harbor's innocents we are indebted to a previously little-known reporter for this account.
For the first time, I felt that numb terror that all of London has known for months. It is the terror of not being able to do anything but fall on your stomach and hope the bomb won’t land on you. It’s the helplessness and terror of sudden visions of a ripping sensation in your back, shrapnel coursing through your chest, total blackness, maybe death.The vision of death became reality when I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital.The first victims of the Japanese-American war were brought there on that bright Sunday morning.Bombs were still dropping over the city as ambulances screamed off into the heart of the destruction. The drivers were blood-sodden when they returned, with stories of streets ripped up, houses burned, twisted shrapnel and charred bodies of children. -- Elizabeth P. McIntosh, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, previously unpublished.
Women firefighters at Pearl Harbor.
I grew up in a different country than the one I now inhabit -- and the one that this young lady will inherit -- different, really in almost every way.
No one knows, I told her, what the future will bring, but knowing that such life-altering events are possible, even probable, raises the percentages of survival for those who understand that unfortunate fact.