Ihave read about Pearl Harbor in all of the history books just like my friends and neighbors. In fact, I was born just ten years after the attack. I even saw the movie that was based on the events at Pearl Harbor. Nothing, however, came close to helping me learn about the truth of the tragedy at Pearl Harbor like talking with my mother.
My mom was in her mid-twenties during the second World War. She was a nurse that was stationed on land just outside of Pearl Harbor. I didn’t know until recently just how horrific the events of that attack were even on the nurses who were stationed there to keep track of the health of the soldiers.
When I was visiting my mom a few months ago we sat down with our cups of peppermint tea and began to reflect upon life before my father passed away. We made our way through old family scrapbooks that captured photographs from our countless family vacations. I asked my mother a variety of questions about what it was like to raise six kids and I asked her what she thought her greatest strengths were as a mother. Somehow we made it all the way back to talking about her childhood and about the years during which my mother grew up. This quickly led to her sharing with me an indepth account of the events of Pearl Harbor as she remembered them.
I have always been interested in history, so I am not sure why it didn’t occur to me to ask my mom about the details of World War II earlier than this particular afternoon. It is a subject that my parents never brought up and hence that I had never ventured out to ask them about. My mom tearfully went into her bedroom and came back with a small wooden box filled with photographs, newspaper clippings and handwritten letters from the years leading up to and after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I learned that my mom lost her first love in the attack at Pearl Harbor. In fact, she was engaged to be married to the soldier and they had a wedding date set for three months after the attack. I guess I had always…