I know this illustration probably isn't of Pearl Harbor, but captures the mood.
Tonight I will drag out my VSH tape of Tora Tora Tora for my annual viewing. I watch it to honor the men and women who served in the Second World War.
I remember the men I have interviewed who where there, as well as the ground swell of young men who swamped recruiting stations, court houses, and in smaller communities the post offices to volunteer for service. I toast the ones who are no longer here and treasure the few that are.
Blackie Wheeler who was too young to join the Marines in World War One, but did anyway. He commanded a photo recon squadron in North Africe, then France in World War Two.
Walt Eddy, who fought as an infantry man in North Africa and Sicily before being wounded at Anzio. His life was saved by a German Medic.
Florine Miller, latter Mrs. Florine Watson, who flew just about everything in Army Aircorps inventory. She ended up with the WASP but is quick to correct you that she was a WAFS.
My Uncle Jack Burnett, who served as an aircraft mechanic stateside. He also made a name for himself on his squardron baseball team as a gifted short stop.
My Uncle Thurman Fisher's war was in the Pacific. Trained as a tank driver, he somehow ended up in the Army's postal system. Ask anyone who served in any theater how important mail was to morale.
Last but not least was my father, Wilson Berry (Dub) Burnett. Dad was eleven when the war started but he fought the battle of the home front. My grandparents were farmers and ranchers in the Texas panhandle.
There is a story about a running battle between my Grandfather and the local Sheriff. Durring harvest Dad would be found driving a grain truck to the elevator. The Sheriff pulled him over and took him to Granddad.
"He's too young to drive that truck," the Sheriff would say. "Put someone else in it."
"There isn't anyone else," Granddad would say. "All the men are in the service. There's lots of things I would rather have him doing but he needs to drive that truck."
"Well he can't. You need to find someone else," the Sheriff would counter.
"How about you Sheriff," my Grandfather would ask? "You're not doing anything useful."
It ended the same way every harvest until the end of the war. The Sheriff would get on the radio and tell his deputies to leave Dad alone. "The boy knows how to drive, and dealing with Old Man Burnett isn't worth it!"