Pearl Harbor Survivor

by Mike Peters

On Monday morning, I ate breakfast at a restaurant while I waited for my car to have some minor repairs done.  In a booth adjacent to mine, there sat an 80-year-old man drinking a "cup of Joe" and wearing a baseball-type hat that identified him as a Pearl Harbor survivor. I  walked over and  asked him some questions.  He asked me to sit down and we talked about that infamous day of some 60 years ago.  He told me about the 20-year-old who drove an ambulance in the aftermath of the ruthless attack.  He talked about the burns and the blood.  Oh the HORROR he saw!

I asked him if he knew anyone in the Army's 25th Infantry Division, 27th Infantry Regiment commonly called the Wolfhounds.  This was my Dad's unit in Korea and was, according to some reports, the first US ground force to engage the Japanese.  His answer was, "You're looking at one."

He had recently been to a free viewing of the movie Pearl Harbor.  Said it was a lot of Hollywood mixed in with a little bit of history.  But overall he said it was good since it should help younger generations remember that December Sunday.  Maybe some will even do a little research on the subject.

He talked about the USS Arizona Memorial and about how members of his select fraternity are dying.  "There's fewer of us now," he said as he shook his head.

He told me how he had came back home and, with the help of his wife raised five healthy boys.  As he told me this, I couldn't help but think how proud they must be of their father.

He said that he was not a hero.  He said that distinction should be given to those men entombed in the USS Arizona and to the rest of the casualties of that day. I beg to differ with him.

I thanked him for his service and his time, shook his hand and left the restaurant.  As I was leaving, I read the bumper sticker on his car.  It said, "If there hadn't have been a Pearl Harbor, then there wouldn't have been a Hiroshima."

That one sentence, in a nutshell, was World War II.  And my history lesson was complete.


Mike Peters

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