Tell a Veteran Thanks

My dad (the one w/ the puppy)
proudly served in the Navy during
WWII

Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who are serving, and who have served in our military. Thank you very much for your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your families.

I’ve mentioned before that my father served in the US Navy, and was on board a ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when it was bombed on December 7, 1941.

My dad didn’t talk much about his experiences in the war. Although I wish he had, I understand why he didn’t.

I asked my niece’s son who served in Afghanistan, if he ever talked about his war experiences. No. Only with those who’d been there. I get it. How can anyone who hasn’t been there truly understand what it was like for you to go through what you went through?

There were a few things my dad did tell me.

He told me how difficult it was to watch the buddy he fought next to get killed, while Dad was physically, unscathed.

He told me how he walked into a restaurant, and someone he knew was shocked. They’d heard Dad’s ship was destroyed. It was, but Dad had been tendered to another ship, to take over for their deceased gunner, before Dad’s ship was hit.

My father told me how much it hurt to come back to the States, the country he’d proudly fought and sacrificed for, to see a sign in front of a business that said, Sailors and dogs keep off the grass.

He put his life on the line for this?Keep off the grassRight now, I’m researching the Tuskegee Airmen, and their contributions to winning the Double Victory. These men and women, like Dr. Bickham and Mr. Harold Alston, Sr. who have helped me with my research, made sacrifices to defeat Hitler overseas and Jim Crow at home.

They returned to the States to face much worse than signs telling them to keep off the grass. (Please join me in praying for Mr. Alston’s family, at his passing this week.)

And here’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus left his throne in glory to come to this earth as a man to fight for us. To win the victory over sin for us. He endured all things we as humans endure to pay the price for our freedom from Satan’s claws of death.

Jesus knew the joys. The pains. The prejudices. The humiliation. The betrayal. The love. The loss.

pathwayWhile I can sympathize and get upset about the unfair treatment others face, unless I’ve walked a mile in their moccasins, I cannot truly comprehend the raw emotions and pain events in their lives cause.

But Jesus can.

He won the victory. He is the conqueror. His death and resurrection bought our freedom. Praise God.

It’s obvious, of course, that he (Jesus) didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed. Hebrew 2:16-18 (MSG)

 

scarvesKnow a veteran? Tell them thanks. Even better, join Sissy and me, as we create knitted Knit Your Bit Scarvesand crocheted scarves to donate to VA Centers across the US. Here is a link for info on the National WWII Museum’s Knit Your Bit campaign.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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December 7, 1941- A Date of Infamy

J Howard Kirby

On December 7, 1941, MM2C, J. Howard Kirby was on board the USS Tracy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. (Remember, Hawaii was a territory, not a state in 1941.)

He was 23 years old.

Around 7:50 AM that Sunday morning, while others were still asleep, or on shore leave, my dad was on duty.

That’s when the first wave of Japanese aircraft arrived, and Cmdr. Mitsuo Fuchida sent the coded message, “Tora. Tora. Tora.”  The Japanese attack began, and complete surprise was achieved.

My father was a sitting duck on board the Tracy, as it sat docked in the Naval Shipyard, across the channel from Battleship Row at Pearl.

In less than 2 hours, out of the 130 vessels berthed within Pearl Harbor, 21 were sunk, or

Photo courtesy
USS Arizona Photograph Collection
NPS

damaged. All but 3 of those ships – the Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah – returned to service before the end of WWII.

328 of the US force’s 394 planes were destroyed or damaged.

2,335 service personnel were killed. 1,143 were wounded.

My dad died in April 1980. He never talked much about his experiences during the Second World War. I wish he had. I wish I had known when he was still alive, to ask him the questions I would like to ask him now.  I miss him bunches.

Photo courtesy
USS Arizona Photograph Collection
NPS

From Dad’s service record, I find my father was commended at Captain’s Meritorious Mast for “participating in action on board the USS Cummings on 7 December 1941 as a member of a gun crew, in the repulsion of Japanese planes attacking the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, T.H. and demonstrated steady nerves and coolness under fire.”

I have been able to visit Pearl Harbor twice. Both times I went there for my dad. His unfulfilled wish, was to return to Pearl some day.

Photo courtesy
USS Arizona Photograph Collection
NPS
Tracy & Cummings background, center berth

In the USS Arizona Memorial Visitors Center, there is a photograph on the wall, of the opening moments of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Torpedo tracks and explosion wakes rock the ships of Battleship Row. Two of the ships in the photograph are the Tracy, and the Cummings. Ships my father fought on that day.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date that will live in infamy.” You can listen to his speech here.

George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

He is also quoted as saying, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Dad

Here is Bing Crosby singing another song I remember hearing when I was a child. White Christmas. (Not to be confused with one of Sissy’s favorites, Blue Christmas.)

Just for fun, which song do you like better, White Christmas, or Blue Christmas?

No. I will not link to Blue Christmas. 😉

I wish you well,

Sandy

PS

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