What will we do on V-E day?

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Today is Dec. 7, which means it’s my father’s birthday, so of course I’m thinking about him. He would have been 94 today.

Others may recall that something else happened on the day my Dad turned 13. The above picture refers to that, of course. Dad helped a friend, who had a paper route, deliver extras about that news. Here he is at around that age. (Or maybe a little younger. I think boys were allowed to switch from knickers to long pants at about 13, but now — despite all the times he reminisced about that coming-of-age moment — I don’t remember exactly, and I can’t check by asking him.)

These dates from the 1940s still loom large, even in the mind of someone like me, who wasn’t born until eight years after the war ended. (OK, I realize there are a lot of people out there who are grossly ignorant of history — even such recent history as this — and the date might mean nothing to them. But it means a lot to me, and not just because of my father.)

This morning, I looked at an appointment card on the kitchen table my dentist’s office gave me the other day. I figured I’d better enter it into my Google calendar before the card gets lost. I found that I HAD entered the appointment on the right date already, but I had the time wrong. So I fixed it. Good thing I looked.

Anyway, that date, for my next cleaning, was June 6. So there I sat on Pearl Harbor day marking something down for D-Day.

I wonder what we’ll be doing on V-E Day?

3 thoughts on “What will we do on V-E day?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    And yeah, I know I get repetitive on these dates of commemoration, but that’s what they’re for, right? Repetition, reinforcing memory.

    At least I stopped myself before posting the picture I did last year, of my Dad on the bike that I suspect he MAY have used to deliver those papers on his 13th birthday. Although obviously not at the same time of year.

    But I know I have used the Pearl Harbor picture several times. That’s because it’s one of the most fascinating historical photos I’ve ever seen — certainly the most remarkable from that event. It’s like what you would go back to get to capture the event if you had a flying time machine. Which is why I you briefly see it in the movie “The Final Countdown,” which actually involves time travel to that place and time.

    It’s a photo taken from a Japanese plane DURING the attack. You see all of Ford Island and most of the relevant part of the harbor. You can even see a torpedo exploding against the West Virginia. (If the resolution was a LOT better and there were no wisps of cloud, you’d be able to see where I would later live in Foster Village, up the hill a bit in the background — although you wouldn’t see my actual house, because I’m pretty sure that subdivision didn’t exist yet.)

    Here’s the full cutline, from Wikipedia:

    Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. View looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. A torpedo has just hit USS West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). Other battleships moored nearby are (from left): Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee (inboard of West Virginia), Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. On the near side of Ford Island, to the left, are light cruisers Detroit and Raleigh, target and training ship Utah and seaplane tender Tangier. Raleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port. Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. U.S. Navy planes on the seaplane ramp are on fire. Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

  2. Barry

    Former Trump PR guy Sean Spicer tweeted yesterday that it was D-Day.

    Pretty ignorant to get those two mixed up. You’d think the folks that talk about respecting the military all the time so they can score cheap political points would know the difference.

    He has a show on a very far right media group now. I don’t even think that station is on my cable providers.


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