Pearl Harbor Day

On this day, sixty-seven years ago, my mom and dad were in their house (which would be considered a shack today) up on Tantalus, high above Honolulu, when the attack on Pearl Harbor began. From ‘way up there, they could see the bombs falling, the smoke, the planes and the fires. Like everyone else, they were completely unprepared for the catastrophe.

It was before my time, but my mom would tell me how frightened they both were, and how the radio reports said that the Japanese had landed. My dad ran outside with a bayonet, prepared to defend the two of them. This was long before TV or internet, of course, so all they had were radio reports, some of which were inaccurate.

When we were going through my mom’s things last August, we found what we assumed to be Dad’s bayonet, and I could imagine them, a young couple up on the mountain, terrifed of what might happen at any moment.

My brother said that Mom had told him that they’d sheltered some local Japanese guys who were afraid that they’d be thought of as traitors. All us siblings agreed that Kaniela should be the one to have the bayonet.

Today I think of what it must have been like for them during those days of uncertainty. And I think about the brave men of the 442nd who proved their loyalty to America. I think about all the men who died that day, and of the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu.

No wonda I get wai maka [tears] today.

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10 Responses to Pearl Harbor Day

  1. AFK says:

    Dec. 7, 1941 was my aunty’s 7th birthday. I’ve never asked her what she went through on that day.

  2. Kikue Mugen says:

    Up on Tantalus during that time the US Army patrolled that area on foot, armed and ready to shoot. They did maneuver sweeps from the ridge down toward the valley. I’m sure your dad was aware of that so he went out armed as well. A really uneasy time that was.

  3. WOW! Thanks for sharing from their perspective. My sweet grandpa was in the army and was there. He hardly ever talked about any of his experiences in WWII. He was a sweet special man. He has been gone for 8 years and I still miss him every day.

    Take care my friend!
    I hope you have a great week!

  4. Hey lady! I’m back! I am giving you an award on my blog. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Lovena says:

    Hui sistah,

    Reading dis wen geev me chicken skin! Mahalo foa sharing your parents’ story!

  6. Debra says:

    Oh my friend, this made me cry.
    I love you. Debra

  7. Wow. I suspect the goosebumps I got reading this had nothing to do at all with the snow outside. Just when you think there’s nothing new that could be said about Pearl Harbor….

  8. Kaniela says:

    Dear Mokihana, thank you for sharing our story, sister. Wife Patty and I went back and stood on the hill near our parents home and pictured what it must have been like for our parents. One amazing lesson: The Japanese people in Hawaii that we knew were so loyal to the US….such good people. Brah

  9. Marilyn says:

    I really enjoyed your historic perspective on a drive I’ve always found beautiful -of course oblivious to it’s special history…. and to imagine a view so frightening and how your parents must have felt. I simply know Tantalus from my own mission to feed stray cats at Puu Ualakaa Park.

  10. Candylei says:

    Tantalus is a beautiful area! My in-laws didn’t even have a radio at that time. Some people were just getting news from their neighbors and what they could see and hear.

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