I Remember Pearl Harbor-An Ear Witness
Arthur G. Finch
Age Rating: 13 +
I think about Pearl Harbor's Japanese attack.
In my old age, my mind continues looking back,
Day before my ninth birthday, with its memories.
To the original broadcast, on fatherís knees.
Nights listening to the news of Europeís Jews,
Countries fell one by one, then, commentatorís views.
One wall in my bedroom, world map for all to see,
Marked with pins, tags, and such, battles on land and sea.
Pearl was of interest, dad an old Navy man.
Japs sunk many ships the last one dad called a can.
attack, a success Japs flew back to ships at sea,
Left Pearl Harbor blazing, bright as our Christmas tree.
'twas a wake-up call for these United States,
A time to battle with Japan and reciprocate.
Or sit on our duffs quietly and capitulate.
Then, spirit of Ď76 broke out, to which we could relate.
We gathered our resources, met them toe to toe,
And quickly indicated who was running this show.
We drove them from China , and the south Pacific.
The spirit of patriotism it was terrific.
War Songs stirred our blood, Japs refused to admit it.
Tokyo Rose tried to discourage. it didnít work a minute.
The tiger awakened, Japanís empire shaken.
Crushing them on land and sea, their soul taken.
Two atomic bomb, caused the rising sun to set,
And get the hell out of Dodge. Or live to regret,
Their attack on Pearl Harbor, now our own USA.
Should others have design, just wait another day!
It is imperative that you understand the setting for this poem. We were at war! We were attacked without provocation. The Japs, that what the nation called them, not Japanese, but sharply with rancor, I will never forget it. We said Japs and the S was a hissing sound. Since then, I spent two years in Japan at Middle Camp Fuji on the side of Mt. Fujiyama with the United States Marine Corps, as a matter of fact I climbed the mountain on my son's first birthday to celebrate. During my many months in Japan I was never mistreated. I found the Japanese, in the early 50's,to be warm, sensitive, kind, and very polite. I had many friends in Japan. But during the first half of the decade we were at war and they were the enemy. I would never dream of calling Japanese, Japs at this point in time. But in the first half of the 1940's, we called them Japs and worse, I am old enough to remember the infamous death marches and unnecessary torture performed by Tojo and his military regime. Unnecessary savagery by both Japan and Germany where 6,000,000 Jews were killed by the Nazi's and burned in the ovens. Read my poem, the Shaoh or Holocaust and see how civilized people revert to barbarism. I wanted you to understand what the United States faced during the 1930's and 1940's. First a great depression and then the most destructive war of the 20th century. Yes, I called them Japs, that was another generation of Japanese and I was another generation American. I also realized that mankind is less than a generation removed from barbarism if the time is right. We will revert to animals for survival. God help us. Thank you for reading my poetry. Arthur.
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It's hard for my generation to imagine the horrors of this war and the attacks upon either and all the countries involved. We try to recapture it through literature and films, and however realistic they are, I know that it must have been very different to watch the actual events unfold on your television set, hear it over the radio, and then read about it in papers and see the destruction. One of my friends 's grandfathers fought in the war over seas for the British military, and just from his stories the pain and fear is clearly visible. All those who fought or participated in the war is a hero, and even though you explain that the world was different in those times, you don't need to. Scorn runs through every country that has felt the cold hand of war, and I appreciate the fact that you posted this piece. It is both heart-wrenching and patriotic at the same time, and I thank you for opening that piece of your memory up to us.
My father fought in the South Pacific, at Guadalcanal, in the Fiji Islands, New Guinea, Tuleki and other places, he told many stories.
You are correct my friend, it was a different world and a different time.
I have been to Japan three times myself and it was as you said a peasant experience, except I went in the winter and it was burrrrr, cold as hell.
I also fought in Vietnam, although I have not been back and have no desire to return, I do not refer to Vietnamese people as VC or Gooks anymore, for that also was a different time and a different world, Thanks for sharing this great remembrance Arthur, be safe and God bless you my friend.
Thank you, Arthur, for this historical account. Though I do not remember the day, my father tells of driving by the Japanese Embassy after hearing reports on that huge radio we had. I'm not sure what he expected to see but hundreds of others had the same idea. What I do remember is the true and heartfelt patriotism that followed for many years. V for victory, victory gardens, synthetic tires, food and gas rationing, all with a spirit of ungrudging common cause.
I really enjoyed you poem, it is beautifully written, and I see you are a treasure trove of experience to share..................June
When historical facts are presented poetically, through the view of the real observer who had gone through the historical events, the creation does become meaningful.
Every poem of yours does supply an immense amount of knowledge and information.
I salute to your devotion.
God bless you