Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day, Dad!

My dad, a Pearl Harbor survivor, told us many inspiring and hair-raising stories about his WWII experiences. Over the years, I’ve tried to record as many of these as I could coax him to remember, many of which I'm blogging about here. I also decided to document his war service in manuscript. It was a delight to go back and forth with him in writing and editing over the past few years. Sadly, the work was still in process when he was taken from us last April. But even in his last weeks in the hospital he was still recalling interesting details.

The last tidbit about the war that I remember him relaying was, that while in Hawaii, probably in  1944, he and some buddies one day were pretending to hit a few balls around the golf course. They were taken by complete surprise when a U.S. Army general approached them. After introductions and making a few observations with the sailors, the general played on through their group. Dad had no idea at that moment who he was. A few months later, though, he and the rest of the world recognized General Douglas MacArthur famously wading onto the shore at Leyte in the Philippines declaring, "I have returned."

Source: Naval History & Heritage Museum

President Roosevelt had summoned Gen. MacArthur and Adm. Nimitz to meet with
him in Hawaii to make a decision about the next phase of action against Japan. Nimitz
made the case for attacking Formosa, while MacArthur stressed America's moral obli-
gation to liberate the Philippines. The meeting took place on board USS Baltimore at
Pearl Harbor, on July 26, 1944.