Each year when I go to bed on December 6th, I think of my granddad, a Machinist Mate on a US Navy tug stationed in Pearl Harbor, laying down in his rack to go to sleep on the night of December 6, 1941. He had no idea what the next day was going to bring. None of those men did. But they faced what came with honor, courage, and commitment. And those that survived went on to fight and eventually win the second world war, in the hopes that there would never be a third. This day that lives in infamy is a time to reflect on what we learned that day. America works best when we all come together, despite our differences and in spite of our own personal failures.
Not long after my grandad passed away, I was given this garrison cap that he used to wear to meetings and events of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Each year since, on the morning of December 7th, I’ve always taken it out of its box and spent a few moments reflecting on my memories of my grandad, and wondering about what it was like to be stationed at Pearl Harbor, minding your own business, going about your regular duties and routines, when suddenly you are under attack, general quarters is sounded, and you’re fighting for the lives of your shipmates. From an enemy you didn’t even know you were at war with until the torpedoes, bombs, and bullets started to rain down.
A few years ago, I noticed something was tucked in the flap of the hat. It was my grandad’s membership card for the PHS and a handwritten prayer that he would say at the meetings when he was asked to bless a meal they were sharing, or for any other time a prayer was asked of him for the group. I have no idea how long ago he wrote it, but it is at the very least 30 years old.
Most of the writing has faded, some of it completely away. But what I can make out of the prayer is this...
“Heavenly Father, we pause now with reverence and remembrance for those who lost their lives that day many years ago....
...have been spared for some purpose. Let us then continue to live seeking an accomplishment (unreadable)... that purpose.”