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Friday, December 04, 2015
Remembering Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona ablaze. http://historylink101.com
From: Chuck Roots,
Retired Pastor, Former Marine, and
Navy Chaplain - Retired
Editor, Ripon Record
Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 4 December 2015
Remembering Pearl Harbor
Relaxing ashore in one of the many
bungalows not far from the nested ships of the United States Navy at Pearl
Harbor, sailors on this Sunday morning were luxuriating in the warm tropical
environs of a paradise that would soon turn into a killing field. Planes were
heard flying along the island coastline, raising little interest in the minds
of the sailors who were enjoying liberty ashore.
This story was told to me about ten
years ago by a couple of Pearl Harbor Survivor veterans when I was asked to
speak to their group. They continued to recount the events of that day.
Japanese Zero shot down at Pearl. http://historylink101.com
The planes flying by the bungalows
along the beach sure looked like Jap Zeroes! But, then again, these sailors had
seen the Marines paint their planes to look like the Zeroes with the big red
“Meatball” on the sides of the fuselage and wings. And after all, Sunday was
often just another day of the week when it came to military training. Yet it
was a bit unnerving to see these planes looking so much like Japanese bombers.
Standing on the bungalow’s lanai the sailors could clearly see the pilots of
the aircraft, and, dang! they sure looked like Japanese! Waves of aircraft were
filling the skies now, flying by heading directly for the ships berthed at
Pearl. In a matter of minutes the thunderous sounds of detonating bombs
captured everyone’s attention. Alarm bells exploded in their heads. In their
haste to throw on their uniforms and scramble into the car some of the men
forgot their wallets containing their ID Cards. At this point, returning to
base was paramount!
Pressing the accelerator of the car
as far as they dared, they rolled up to the gate practically skidding to a stop
for the sentry. The Marine guard, holding his M1 Garand, was unwilling to allow
these sailors to pass without their IDs. And you can hardly blame the Marine.
At this point he didn’t know who to trust. The sailors attempted to explain the
haste which they were in, needing to return to their ships. It was obvious to
all of them that something awful was happening down at the harbor. The Marine
seemed unsure, recognizing that a crisis was brewing, yet wanting to obey his
orders in not allowing any unlawful personnel to pass. Finally, exasperated,
the sailor driving the car announced to the flummoxed Marine that they were
going to drive onto the base and return to their ship. So if he was going to
shoot them, then shooting!
The car shot forward aiming for the
harbor. No one dared looked back to see if the Marine was drawing a bead on
them with his M1. The Marine stood with his rifle raised but did not fire. What
they found when they arrived at the dock where their ship was tied was utter
devastation. Their ship was already sitting on the bottom of the harbor. Thus,
World War Two began for the United States of America.
Another friend recalled this same
event from a different perspective. Isaura and I met this elderly couple while
I was stationed as a Navy chaplain from 1984-85 at Marine Corps Base Camp
Pendleton in Southern California. George and Mamie Tintori had long been
regular attenders of the Mainside Chapel on the base. We soon developed a
lasting friendship and spent many enjoyable times together. They became
surrogate grandparents for our girls, Laura (5) and Jenny (2). What a wonderful
godly couple they were! They have been loosed from their earthly bonds quite
some years ago.
But one story they shared was their
indirect connection with Pearl Harbor. George had enlisted in the Navy in 1922.
Working his way up through the ranks, he became a warrant officer, and later a
commissioned officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. He was given orders
to report to a destroyer, home based at the naval station in San Francisco.
They were living in a hotel in the city while waiting for base housing to open
up. So George says to Mamie one morning that his ship was going out on maneuvers
for the weekend, but that he’d be back late Sunday and that she should plan to
join him for dinner Sunday night. Well, it just so happened that the Sunday
George was out to sea was December 7, 1941, “A
day that will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt so
eloquently stated it. What is often forgotten is that Germany declared war on
the United States the next day.
The next time Mamie saw George was
four years later when the war mercifully ended.
America was hit hard at Pearl
Harbor. Our military was at a dangerously low number having been downsized by
Congress following World War One. What emerged from Japanese sneak attack on
Pearl Harbor was a resolve by a unified nation to not only strike back at an
enemy that had attacked us without provocation, but to reduce that nation and
their people to the point where they could not hurt anyone again for a very
long time. The same attitude was aimed at Germany.
The Greatest Generation rose to the
occasion and successfully defeated two daunting enemies, once again securing
our freedom and liberties.
I fear our current generation might
be called to engage in a global war against Muslim radicals and their despotic
followers. As our fathers and grandfathers did in WWII, this generation will
undoubtedly step up and win the day for America and all freedom loving people
throughout the world, crushing those who would seek to destroy us.
God bless America!
With the closure of the Ripon Record this month, my column,
Roots in Ripon, will still be available on the Internet. If you would like to
receive my weekly column, please send an email to Roots66@verizon.net and I will send my articles to you as an
email attachment. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this column for the Ripon
Record the past 13 years. Hope to reconnect with you by email! Blessings! Chuck