Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Low Dull Roar

The U.S.S. Arizona sinking, 7 Dec 1941, public domain photo, full cite below in sources

Greetings All:

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  This was for our grandparents what 9/11 was for us.  America was no longer on the sidelines of World War II.  I heard somewhere that Churchill 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered one of the more famous, some say iconic, speeches of American history.  Here is some of it:

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941- a date that will live in infamy- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan...No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people will through their righteous might win through absolute victory...with confidence in our armed forces with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God. I therefore ask that congress declare war that since that dastardly and unprovoked attack by Japan on Sunday...a state of war has existed between the United States and Japanese Empire."

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reported said the following after learning of the attack and that the United States would soon be in the war:  "….I slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.”

At the time of the attack, Japan was an imperial power, ruling the Pacific, committing horrific crimes of occupation in Asia.  Less than four years later, Japan would surrender unconditionally.  An event that to historians was inevitable was not at all visible that Sunday morning.  Here are some thoughts I put together about this day.  It is a poem I have entitled, "The Low Dull Roar."

Sunday, it’s morning.
Most of America is shivering.
But not here.

Here, it’s paradise.
The young man breathes in the tropical air.
He can’t fight the smile forming on his face.

“Best gig in the Navy,” he tells himself.
“Best gig anywhere in the…”

His thoughts are shaken, like being waken from a pleasant dream,
Shaken by a low, dull roar.
Then the roar gives birth to an angry, metal scream.

From the sky,
From the East,
They have come.

He sees the planes, bringing death, killing peace.
Sunday morning will never be again, at least for him,
At least as he knew it to be.

Like a clap of thunder in his face, an explosion knocks him back,
Off his feet, off the world he knows.
He’s pitched into the burning water a boy.

When he punches his head against the water stained by war,
He is burned.
He is now a man, his boyhood forever gone.

He struggles to kick, to swim, then just to float.
His left arm a mess of blood.
The sting of the salt water,
The most precise pain he’s ever known.

A strong arm pulls him up to a boat.
An unknown sailor with an accent thick as Boston says,
“Don’t yuu worry, paal, we’ve got ya.”

Now seven decades and change later, another Sunday comes.
He’ll go to Mass, praying for those friends lost.
He’ll see the scar that meets his watch,
And he’ll hear in his mind that low, dull roar.

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Fair Use Claimed, photo credit in the citation below.

Be well my friends,


Opening photo:

Closing photo-

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