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December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

FrankS. scolds me for not blogging about this earlier.

I'll note two good round-ups of remembrances, one at La Shawn's, the other at Michelle's.

Ordinary Everyday Christian recalls FDR's and Churchill's speeches on that black day.

FDR's is good. Churchill's is better, and this passage resonates nicely:

There shall be no halting, or half measures, there shall be no compromise, or parley. These gangs of bandits have sought to darken the light of the world; have sought to stand between the common people of all the lands and their march forward into their inheritance.

They shall themselves be cast into the pit of death and shame, and only when the earth has been cleansed and purged of their crimes and their villainy shall we turn from the task which they have forced upon us, a task which we were reluctant to undertake, but which we shall now most faithfully and punctiliously discharge.

The Cliff's Notes version? Let's roll.

Veterans and civilians recall the attack here.

A scholarship tackle on the University of South Carolina football team on Dec. 7, 1941, New York City native Dom Fusci was listening to the radio in the Delta Zeta sorority lounge at USC.

"The coeds always had cookies for us, and we often listened to records and the radio with them in the lounge," Fusci recalls. "While we were there, we heard the radio broadcast that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. We all knew then we were at war."

Within a couple of years, Fusci found himself roaring across some of the most dangerous Western Pacific channels as a machine-gunner on a PT boat and at times on a PT boat-tender. The biggest threat, he remembers, was from the attacking kamikazes. Fusci also made time for a lighthearted fun with shipmates.

"On Okinawa I got a letter from the Washington Redskins," he recalls. "I was a third round draft choice, and they wanted to discuss a contract with me when I got back to Washington."

Fusci approached his commanding officer about the letter, explaining to him that he was being called to Washington to discuss a draft matter.

Confused, the officer asked why Fusci would receive such orders. Fusci handed the letter to the officer.

"The CO read the letter," said Fusci, laughing. "Then he looked at me and said, 'Get your big a** back on that PT boat.'"

A Different Era: Michelle links man-on-the street interviews after the attack. Americans were, fortunately, not as filled with nuance and doubt back then:

John Henry Faulk: Mr. Jirosik, what do you think about Japan's action last Sunday?

Joe Jirosik: I think they were all wrong.

John Henry Faulk: Well, for what reason? Do you think it was any justification whatever on the part of Japan in making that attack?

Joe Jirosik: I don't think there's any.

John Henry Faulk: What do you think the United States should have done then?

Joe Jirosik: Declare war on them.

John Henry Faulk: In other words, you're behind Roosevelt's resolution?

Joe Jirosik: Hundred percent.

John Henry Faulk: Well, that's good. Do you think that all America has fallen, I mean all of your associates have fallen in pretty well behind him?

Joe Jirosik: As far as I can see, all of them.

John Henry Faulk: Do you hear much talk around your job? You're a carpenter, aren't you?

Joe Jirosik: Yes.


John Henry Faulk: What seems to be the general opinion amongst the carpenters' union, then?

Joe Jirosik: Well, they all about like me. They think it's right for the United States to declare war on them.

John Henry Faulk: Mm, hmm [affirmative]. Do they seem to have any opinion as to who's going to win and who's going to lose?

Joe Jirosik: Well, some of them seems to think that won't last long, but I'm of a different opinion. I think it's going to last quite a while.

John Henry Faulk: How come?

Joe Jirosik: Well, because the United States is going to first have to corner it.

John Henry Faulk: [laughs].

Joe Jirosik: Just like a dog catching a rabbit, you've got to catch him before you can kill him.

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