A Pearl More Precious. Reflection by Mary E. Latela. December, 2016
Seventy-five years ago, on December 7th, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces.
Tonight, I watched “Tora!Tora!Tora!” again. I know the history and the shock of being attacked with malice, without warning, and I felt cold, wrapped in a quilt, sipping hot tea. After a while I felt that I could not move – each blast, the fire balls, the looks of perfect shock on the faces of the American troops as they realized what was happening. The problem for the brass was that the Japanese had discussed this invasion, but they came too early. They started the desecration forty five minutes before notice went through to Washington.
With the heavy blow to American troops, and the over-enthusiastic glee of some of the Japanese pilots, the Commander in Chief, said, “Enough.” They went home. That might have looked like retreat to any of us, but that Commander had broken the trust that comes with great power. He failed to warn. And world treaties do not easily forgive.
I know this is film, but I’ve read enough and lived enough to know that real life can teach you this lesson on being unprepared to have your world tossed upside down, and your life upended. On September 11th, I felt alone, though we were all there, together, hanging on to the knowledge of being part of a community of human persons. That felt so good and right, that the suggestion of prompt closure was a slap, sudden, bracing, almost casual.
They say that war is hell. I say, if there is a hell, it must be loss, loss of feeling, loss of connection, loss of hope. All those months when Europe was in the dark, and so Americans had no idea what was going on there, were torture for those who had come here so recently, who had found refuge here, and then realized that their fears came with them.
Every piece of the jigsaw puzzle of world peace needs a fresh shining, a reexamination. We want our kids to feel safe and we surely want to keep safe in this troubling world. The pearl is replaced with hope.