December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Day

USS Shaw at Pearl Harbor
Honor World War II veterans: fly your flag today.
It is hard for me to believe that there are Americans who don't know what Pearl Harbor Day is all about. Like Neal Boortz, my Dad took me to see Pearl Harbor after the war. I was just a kid then, but I remember. We were living on Guam at the time, where there were plenty of reminders of the war. I used to dig up little bomb-like fleschettes to play with. There were Japanese soldiers on the island that thought the war was still on. There were beaches we couldn't use because they were still mined. I got to see the cliffs on Saipan where desperate Japanese jumped to their death rather than surrender.

The cats I grew up with all had family that fought in WWII. They didn't forget. One of my college buddies got us jammed up with the police on Pearl Harbor Day. We were drinking ourselves senseless in a tawdry $30 a month basement apartment in Ames, Iowa when it occurred to him that the Chinese foreign student and his family that lived upstairs might be Japanese. He beat on the ceiling with a broomstick until he poked a hole through the plaster. Then he stood on a chair and shouted drunken curses through the hole. The poor Chinese cat called the police. Nobody went to jail; the police were actually sympathetic to my friend's misplaced rage. The Chinese guy, once things were explained to him, joined in cursing the Japanese.

I can't advise you to assault your Japanese neighbors today. But don't let anyone forget what happened this day 65 years ago.

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