Thoughts on the Eightieth Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
I often say that I remember Mr. Tom’s shipmates for him now that he has passed. For those of you who may not understand how this works, I came across the idea from Terry Pratchett. In “The Last Hero”, Cohen the Barbarian comes across the final resting place of an unknown adventurer.
“‘I havfen’tfiniffed,’ he said, indistinctly.
‘Finished what, old friend?’
‘Rememb’rin’,’ said Cohen.
‘The hero who waffburied here, all right?’
‘Who was he?’
‘What were his people?’
‘Fearchme,’ said Cohen.
‘Did he do any mighty deeds?’
‘Fomeone’fgot to remember the poor bugger!’
‘You don’t know anything about him!’
‘I can ftillremember him!’”
In particular, there are four men I remember, though I never knew their names.
Two are from Pearl Harbor:
I remember the man who ran with MrTom from the engine room of the North Carolina to her upper deck and whose leg was cut open by the fin of a falling torpedo dropped from a Zero.
I remember the man who was cut from the hull of the nearby and listing Oklahoma, who fell on his knees and wept after being rescued by a crew that included Mr. Tom armed with acetylene torches.
One is from Operation Torch:
I remember the man who asked MrTom to pray for the souls of the men the Massachusetts was about to attack. This may or may not have been Rear Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt.
One is from Operation Neptune:
Mr Tom described the Meredith’s splitting in two as the worst night of his life. I remember the man who, knowing his time was drawing near, attempted to give Mr Tom a few of his affects to pass on to his wife (maybe girlfriend?). The man’s buddies thought Mr Tom was robbing him, and by the time it was straightened out, he had already sunk beneath the waves of the English Channel.
I hope his love knew his last thoughts were of her.
These are the men I remember today – for Mr Tom.