Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Six Degrees of Separation with December 7, 1941

USS Arizona explodes, December 7, 1941

The date of December 7th has been a touchstone in my collective memory from my earliest recollection. My mother to her last day looked back on that day as a turning point in her life when she along with millions of Americans learned via the news bulletin that broke into the music she was listening to in front room of her parents home on that late Sunday morning in 1941 when Japan changed the world forever. The attack on Pearl Harbor jolted over 133 million Americans out of the spectators area and into the arena of war that had already engulfed Europe, and soon most of Asia. When I was young, I always believed it was because my mother and her parents had lived through the war that the significance of December 7th was passed along to my brother and I. We knew that our father had served during the war, but it was decades later that the full story of how that day that was called a "date that will live in infamy." would lead to my very existance.

I had written before about my father, beginning with this post, and continuing to write about his war experiences as they unfolded. The event that brought my mother and father together, came as a result of the war that enveloped their world and led to them meeting at a USO sponsored dance while my father's ship the was undergoing repairs after being bombed at Guadalcanal in November, 1942.

USO Dance World War II

I often reflect back on how their future was changed by the Attack on Pearl Harbor. My father Jay B. Wade went down to the navy recruiter in Eugene, Oregon, Monday morning December 8, 1941 and enlisted. He had already had a taste of the semi-regimented life as his last job had been with the 932nd Conservation Corps unit cutting trees and maintaining logging roads. He soon shipped out on the USS Zeilin AP-9 to participate in five invasions before returning to become a plankowner on the aircraft carrier Bon Home Richard. The war led to the unintended consequences of my parents meeting while the sounds of the the latest Benny Goodman tunes wafted across the dance floor back in 1942, and kindled a love that endured the war, and led to my being, and eventually this blog entry. My story is but one, of the many millions of encounters that brought people together during the worst of times. Tributes have been many today, and thankfully, they will continue into the future as others of my generation reach their elder years and not only reflect on how this day influenced their existence, and hopefully, will pass along the memory of this event to their progeny and keep the memory alive.

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