Seventy-eight years ago, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the empire of Japan. And although I wasn’t there – I wasn’t even born! – I’m still remembering it.
I was blessed to count Mr Tom Poole one of my dearest friends. I don’t know why he chose me, a fresh-out-of-college history teacher sixty years his junior, to be the one he confided in, yet he did.
Mr Tom was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the Raleigh that fateful morning. Although I often saw him several time each week, we had a standing date every December 7 from 2008 to 2016. I made sure to spend time with him. Sometimes we’d talk and sometimes just watch whatever was on TV. But he wasn’t alone.
I have missed him every day since he passed in 2017, but more so on Pearl Harbor and D-Day. Today is hitting me especially hard. Today I am delivering a lecture on Pearl Harbor at Tryon Palace in New Bern, North Carolina (if you’re nearby, come introduce yourself – it’s free!) and will get to share Mr Tom’s recollection of Pearl Harbor.
Mr Tom gave me his stories, and I made them into a book. Mr Tom loved the Tryon Palace Pearl Harbor event, the book caught the attention of the right people, and now I get to share his story once more.
I’ve been asked if I’m nervous. Yes, I am. True, it’s my first-ever live author event. But I’m more nervous about doing right by the memory of Mr Tom.