This year marks the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It’s a somber anniversary, not like a wedding or an occasion for a grand party. However, it is something to be remembered, and there is something to celebrate.
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base on the remote island of Hawaii where they destroyed or damaged almost 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in that attack, a number of them civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. It was after this event that President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to declare War on Japan, thus thrusting our American Service Men and Women into World War II.
Our brave military members left home, left wives, children, and unborn babies, left jobs and schools and all the fun of youth, and entered into a hell they could never have imagined. They saw and did and learned things that no human being should ever have to face. Yet many of them would have done it again if they had to. That’s who they were, that’s how they were raised and how they lived. Few young people today have that resolve, that understanding, that love of country and all that is good and free. It’s a shame.
For anyone who thinks it was no big deal, or worse, unnecessary for those men and some women to give up everything to fight, then they are sadly mistaken. The attack on Hawaii proved that our country was not safe from attackers just as 9/11 reminded us of the same.
For many years, Ken’s grandfather refused to talk about the War. He held his memories close and wouldn’t let them near his loved ones. He lived for 70 years without bringing that war home to his family.
After the World War II Memorial opened in 2004, Pop opened his mind and his mouth and let the story out. He told us of his arrival on the beaches of Normandy and all that he witnessed there. It’s hard to hold back tears even now as I recall his recounting, and I won’t attempt here or anywhere to tell his story. As far I know, other than that one day, shortly after the family took him to DC, Pop never again let down those walls.
When my girls were in middle and high school, one of the most anticipated days of the school year was November 11 – Veteran’s Day. My father, Ken’s father, and Pop always tried to make this special service, full of pomp and circumstance, with artwork, songs, prayers, and speeches praising those who fought for our country. The very first time we attended, Pop cried crocodile tears as each and every middle and high school student at Saints Peter and Paul shook his hand and thanked him for his service. Pop told us that nobody had ever said those words to him before. That really stuck with me, and never do I let an opportunity pass by, whether in an airport or at a store or a concert or on the street, that I don’t go out of my way to thank someone in uniform or wearing a Veteran’s insignia.
This morning, I was watching the news coverage of the memorial service at Pearl Harbor. A survivor of that terrible day remarked that when he is stopped by people who thank him for his service, he always responds, “You were worth serving for.”
YOU WERE WORTH SERVING FOR.
No matter who you are, what you’ve done or haven’t done, or whether you’ve ever given a second’s thought to our service people, in their minds, you were and are worth serving for. They aren’t fighting for themselves. They fight for you. Those men and women on Pearl Harbor died or were injured for you and for me, because we were worth serving for.
“There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
We are all called to serve, whether it is with guns and by plane or jeep, or in a soup kitchen or a pro-life center or in church. We are called to lay down our lives for each other. We are called to put others first and to love like God loves. We are told that we are all worth serving for.
So, what about Pearl Harbor is there to celebrate? We celebrate the men and women in this world who lay down their lives for others. We celebrate the freedoms we should cherish and the life we are blessed to lead. We celebrate our fathers and grandfathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters who give up everything to protect those freedoms and this life.
We celebrate those who live by the words of Jesus, “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
This Christmas season, keep those men and women in mind. Pray for them. Lay a wreath for them. Visit them. Thank them. It’s the least we can do.
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
March 9, 2022 – Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Wayne, PA 6:00PM – Lenten Reflection
April 9, 2022 – First Landing Wine and Arts Festival, St. Clement’s Island Museum, Clements, MD
June 4, 2022 – Christ Church 350th Anniversary Fair, Broomes Island, MD
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two will be out in early 2022. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines, is now available in all formats.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021).