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.