They were 18 year old freckle faced Marines and sailors, away from home for the first time. Recovering from a Saturday night liberty, they awoke slowly on a Sunday morning, typical for the day.
An air raid siren sounds. "Must be just another drill...damn Corps, is killing us with this crap on a Sunday morning", thinks one Marine. Another siren sounds. And another. In the distance the buzz of a plane engine, like a tin can full of bumblebees, is heard. Doesn't sound like the planes normally heard at the base.
At 7:55 am the first explosion, gunfire, and the Marines and Sailors at Pearl Harbor Naval Base knew that this was no drill. The United States of America was being attacked and it was their job to put up the defense, as best they could.
They did a valiant job, but over 2000 Americans were killed that day. Many trapped in sinking ships, with only their brothers in arms around them, to comfort them as they awaited death. Many were burned to death in explosions and fires, and a great number of them were scarred for life, mentally and physically. The survivors fought back, using stationary machine guns trying to swat away the swarm of zeros. Heroes were discovered that day, ordinary men from everywhere in America, doing the right thing, saving their brothers in arms and comforting the ones that cried for their mothers as they lie dying.
This will be the final reunion for many survivors. They meet every five years, and this is the 65th. The 'greatest generation' is fading fast. Those men who were 18 year old Marines then, are now 83. The generation of men and women who built America to be the country it is today, and sacrificed more than my generation and my parents generation will ever know, will be gone soon.
Appreciate their efforts, their sacrifices, and honor their memory.
Remember Pearl Harbor.