Last year, I wrote a story called “There’s a Pearl in my Harbor” for the Ophiuchus tales. In that story, a young man witnesses the attack on Pearl Harbor and the ramifications of aforementioned attack. I must warn you know, this story is not for the fainthearted.
This story is dedicated to those who fought and died on December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. May their deaths never be forgotten.
Winston Trichenberg glared at the sky; it was an unusually sunny day for December. Then again, he was a college student in Hawaii, as it were.
The date was December 7, 1941, and Winston was sitting in the cafeteria at the naval base in Pearl Harbor. He watched as many men and women walked by him, talking about things that he didn’t understand yet. He knew that war had broken out in Europe, and his uncles Demi and Bran and several of their sons had joined the fight against the evil German chancellor Adolf Hitler. Hitler had called for the elimination of the Jewish people, something that didn’t sit too well with the Trichenberg family. (The Trichenberg family was Jewish, so to speak.)
Without warning, Winston heard the sounds of airplanes flying over the base. He was unfazed, as he watched the planes take off and land on the base on a daily basis. However, this was no ordinary drill.
In fact, it was an invasion.
The country of Japan had decided to bomb the United States for reasons that Winston didn’t understand. Several years before, Japan had attacked its next-door neighbor China; many people decried the attack. Now the United States was being attacked by Japan.
Without warning, a signal went off and people were scrambling to their feet. bombs were falling on the base faster than you can say “We’re under attack!” As the people scrambled to get to their posts, Winston ran back to his bunker, where he kept his weapons. Pulling out his sword and bow, he climbed onto the roof of the bunker and began firing arrows at the invading airplanes. Some of those arrows found their target, with explosive results.
But it wasn’t over yet, as Winston and many others ran to another building, intending to defend it against the Japanese, but they never reached that area. The Japanese bombed them, with many people falling dead where they stood.
It was reported that 2,403 people were killed in the attacks and 188 American aircraft was destroyed. The attack led to the United States entering World War II; President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a day that will live in infamy” as the United States declared war on Japan.
But this story isn’t over yet, as Winston had to put his studies on hold and join the navy in the fight against Japan. He spent four years fighting against a people that would have destroyed East Asia if they weren’t stopped. He also kept tabs on his cousins as they fought against Hitler.
(Of course, it would take Winston many years to recover from the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as him fighting in the Philippines. it took him longer to forgive the Japanese for the bombing that killed many of the people he knew.
I’m sure that even today, Winston is still dealing with December 7 whenever it came around, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.)
History tells us that war is a bad thing, but when we put a name and face on the people who witness these things, war gets personal. As the years passed, Winston would remember where he was during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He wept for those who died and spoke to those who survived. Yet he knew that one day, there would be a day when wars would be no more.