A wide-angle view of the sky above Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, filled with smoke and anti-aircraft fire
My Grandfather was never really an emotional man. He was never given to open displays of affection or even sympathy. He kept most things he felt locked inside, but I remember him telling me about this day. He heard the broadcast over the radio as a child. The radio tall and wooden, still sat in his office, many years later. His mother called him inside, he recalled the creaking and abrupt closing of the screen door behind him. He remembered the twinge of fear he felt when he saw the worry in his mothers eyes. He began to recite the broadcast from his mothers words; she told him,
"There was an attack on Pear Harbor…"
He quoted from memory:
"A Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor would naturally mean war."
My Grandfather choked out the words. His voice cracked and his jaw clenched. Tears drowned his eyes and the lines of his face loosened into sobs that shook his body like waves. Suddenly he was that little boy again, hearing words he didn’t quite understand. Feeling all that chaos and dread hanging in the room. Wondering why no one could say exactly what had happened and why someone had attacked HIS country.
My mother reached out and put her arms around him, telling him it was okay. He reached up and held her hand for a moment, then slowly slid her hand from his shoulder.
"No, this is important." He practically croaked the words.
He said he didn’t remember much after that except for the sound of the screen door behind him as he sat outside, tears in his eyes, trying to make sense of what it all meant and what it meant for his family, and his country.