Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pearl Harbor and Peaches




Yesterday I went to see my son-in-law, Eric, where he works. 
When I was there Eric introduced a Pearl Harbor Survivor to me.
He looked like someone's sweet grandpa, and probably was.
I sometimes thank soldiers when I meet them, not
because I am pro-war but because
I enjoy freedom.
I do not
care
which war they
were in and I do not
consider my opinion about
the particular war.  I know that the
people on the front lines are only taking
orders and I prefer to simply thank them for their service.

I wanted to tell this man thank-you as well.
Somehow I didn't manage to say much of anything to him.
I wanted to tell him that Mike & I had visited Pearl Harbor but
even in my head that sounded prettty lame.

Mike & I had a chance to visit Mike's cousin, Tom, and his wife, Marla, in 2005.
Tom was in the army and stationed there so the timing was excellent.
Our first morning there we visited Pearl Harbor.
I'm not sure how Mike saw it but in
my mind I felt we couldn't
enjoy the beauty of
Hawaii
until we'd also seen
the place where so many
military people lost their lives.

It was a sobering morning.
It was strange to look around at all
the beauty and realize the ugliness that
had occurred right there. 

During our week there we were able to see three military bases.
In some places we saw the bullet holes, unrepaired for the sake of history. 
One day there I was dropped off alone at a private military beach and as I swam in the beautiful cove I remember thinking it was a remarkably peaceful experience that I would
remember forever.  I also remember pondering the fact that others in the past likely had their most frightening day there or near there. 

As Eric came out to my car with me yesterday I still kept thinking about that gentleman.  Eric told me more of his story.  He told me that man's unit had taken a direct hit.  The man and his best friend had run from a building, trying to find a place of safety.
The man dove into some bushes and his friend followed,
landing right on top of him in the small space.
The were spotted and shot at.
His friend took all
the bullets.

This man had to roll his dead best friend off of himself!
He didn't have time to think about it much then, but I'm sure it has been something
he has thought about ever since.  The next place he hid didn't work out so well either.  Bombs blasting caused him to be buried alive.  He had to dig himself out.

As Eric told me this story I felt ashamed that I'd not tried to ask him more about it or do something to acknowledge the trauma he lived and carries around inside his head.
That's when I thought of the peaches I had in my car, fresh peaches
from Colorado I purchased at a roadside stand. 
These peaches are ripe and juicy,
 exquisite to smell and taste. 



I could think of no better
thank-you gift so
I sent them
back in
with
Eric.