PEARL HARBOR REMEMBERED

Today, 80 years ago, on December 7 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes made a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. More than 2000 soldiers and sailors died that day and another thousand were wounded. It was this that finally persuaded Franklin Roosevelt to enter the Second World War.

I wrote this poem after visiting the Arizona Memorial in 2014.

They were doing mundane things

Reading

Shaving

Chatting

Polishing their shoes

Writing letters home

Getting over the night before

When they’d been on the town

Dancing, drinking, kissing

Making love

Laughing

Living

They were young

And who knew

What tomorrow would bring?

Now here they are entombed forever

In their watery grave

The list of names goes on and on and on

900 men

Taken by surprise

And to this day

Oil still seeps from the sunken ship

And lies there on the water

Like a fallen rainbow

They say it is the tears of the dead

Weeping

And we who are lucky enough to be alive

Weep for them.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

© Photo, Andrea Neidle