|A Day of Infamy
Author: J.P. Woods PM
Originally historical fiction written in 8th grade. Welcome to pearl harbor.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Drama - Words: 2,381 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 10-27-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2431395
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As I sit on the bed I remember how this mess started to begin with. It started with a man named Adolph Hitler, the leader of Germany and a member of the Nazi party. He began a great war in Europe while the Japanese fought in the Pacific. I remember how much I wanted to go to war. I thought it would be cool to fight and kill Nazis and Japanese. I snuck in to the army at 17. I remember the recruiter asking, "How old are you?" I of course lied and said I'm 18, sir. Then he had to fill out other things such as eye color, hair color, height, weight and of course gender. He began "eye color" Brown" I replied in a casual voice. "Hair color" Black". "Height" 5-9. "Weight" "210 pounds." "Male" he said as he finished off all the questions. "Thank you son", the recruiter concluded. "Your parents will be proud of you ,I bet." Not many kids willingly join the army." At that moment I realized that I could not go home. My parents had invisioned me being one of those freaky science weirdoes. Therefore, when I went home my parents and my younger sister could barely bare to look at me. All they could say at the dinner table was "get out, Billy!" I was more than relived when not a day later the recruiter called, and said, "You are now a part of the United States Navy." It got even better when he said, you're going to Hawaii."
I was stationed in Hawaii due to the Japanese aggression in the Pacific. Here I am now on the USS Arizona. There was nothing better than being in Hawaii getting drunk and having fun with Hawaiian chicks. Sure there was always the threat of an attack but we had no worries. The Germans couldn't care less about an isolated nation who posed no threat to them. The Japanese on the other hand were more angered by us. Even so, they had never truly threatened us in the past. For once I had thought I made a good decision but ,as I soon would realize, I didn't.
Captain Jonathan Mitchell, or Mitch as he is often referred to, is my commanding officer and my best friend. He isn't one of those commanders who yell and scream if you have fun, in fact he joins in it. One time we were playing poker when Mitch came in. Instead of reporting us he asked, how much in. He is usually all ways happy and cheerful for a captain. Yesterday, December 6 he was really uptight. He didn't really talk to anyone and did not crack a joke all day. He was a lot more uptight than usual. Many people heard the Japanese were going to attack somewhere in Southeast Asia. Despite that warning I wasn't convinced there'd be any danger. One of the last things that had happened to me was that I had a conversation with Mitch. Mitch started with the usual "Billy, things aren't looking good." He continued with "The Japanese have declined an attempt at peace between our two countries." "We need to be ready for war." Surprised at what he said I asked, "When?" He started to walk away then stopped. "Soon" he replied. It was at this point when I began to feel uncomfortable. For some reason I was a lot more afraid. I had thought that war would never happen but now I was a bit more convinced I wasn't as safe as I thought.
That night I had a dream that I was back home and everyone was happy to see me. My family and I had dinner and talked happily about how proud they were of me. "Billy", my mom said lovingly "I am so proud of you." My dad said for the first time in his life, "Billy we love you." Then we started to talk about the army and they got mad. My sister said, "I wouldn't want to be one of those pigs in the army." "Yeah the army is for trash", Replied my dad. Before I could even reply, Mitch was there. So were the recruiter and my crew mates. They made crude remarks toward me. I started to yell "Shut up"! Soon everything got dark. My parents, my sister, Mitch, the recruiter and all my crew mates screamed in evil voices "Get out Billy Boyd!" They screamed it over and over and over. Bomb noises began to go with their voices. It got louder and louder. Suddenly I woke up violently to realize those bomb noises were real, not just a dream.
The bombs boomed loudly as I heard a high ranking officer scream "Everyone up we are under attack!" I had to get to topside ,but first as I sit on this bed I remember how this mess started. Before I knew it I was being tapped on the shoulder by Mitch. He said "come on we have to go." I ran out of the room with Mitch. Sparks flew in the next room as Mitch and I split up. The kitchen next to me exploded. Charred men who I talked to a day ago came out screaming from being charred. I found my self with some other crew mates. Before I knew it another explosion caused a pole to go through one of their heads. The blood spurted in all our faces. In fear I screamed "Jesus Christ, help me!" As I continued go through the ship I recall the first day of boot camp.
"Welcome to the USS Arizona ,gentlemen." "My name is Jonathan Mitchell." "Mitch went on, you all think you're so tough tell me are you afraid to die." "Boyd, are you afraid to die?" "I said sir no sir." "Everyone laughed." "Ok, Boyd ,so if I put you on a boat and got some planes and shot at you, you would not have any fear." Mitch said "you should all be afraid to die." "If you aren't, you are no good to the army, and no good to me."
I finally made it to the stairs and now I look around to see what's happening. Planes with a red circle on the side hit the USS Shaw with a bomb. My crew mates and my friends are being shot down and killed. Other planes are shooting men around me. Now I realize what a mistake I made. Why did I do it? I am just a child. I quickly find an anti-aircraft gun and fire. I start screaming, not in fear but anger. I hit some planes as smoke comes around me and chokes me. My eyes water and I am struggling for breath. My fear screams and hurts me more than anything else. I look to see my friend Isaiah dead. I stop firing. The first time we met I was in a bar fight with some drunk when he came in and helped me win the fight. I was so thankful and he was my first real army friend. I try not to cry. I scream "I should not be here!" I have tears all over my face. I can't stop crying. Bomb fragments kill men around me. They have metal through their eyes and hands. There is blood on my face. I know I have to keep fighting; it is my only chance. I take down more planes with the gun. Even so, the fear is too much to bear.
I stop and begin to cry more. Just then Mitch calls me over. He starts by saying "alright what are we going to do." Soon everyone starts to scream. Each person has a different idea. They get louder and louder as the bombs get louder and louder. It continues until Mitch has enough and screams at the top of his lounges "Silence!" It was the loudest I've ever heard him scream and as quickly as the noise started it stopped. Everyone was so shocked they had no idea what to do next. The next thing I heard was the whizzing of bombs. Before I knew it I was in the water helpless and drowning.
I am in the water thinking this is it. I am slightly happy because I remember Mitch said "it's a shame that you and your parents got off on such a bad foot." "Some day I promise I will write a letter to your parents." "I remember laughing and saying why would you write a letter to my parents." I still feel he won't but at least if I die I won't be a failure anymore. Bullets whizzed past my head. The air planes were shooting at us in the water. I ask myself why not just let us drown. I now realize that I am going crazy. I feel so traumatized. I know my time is short. I begin to start my last prayer when all the sudden I was raised up by Mitch. I was so surprised I could not believe it. I looked at the ship that was once the USS Arizona. The ship is in ruins. Hawaii now looks like one of the European battlefields. I begin to wonder how it happened and we, like Europe, will be at war. With Mitch, I don't want to show my fear. I pushed all those thoughts out of my mind. I looked at Mitch ready to thank him, when I saw that he had been hit. Mitch looked at me and said "I know, I know." I argued saying "leave me ,I am weak I deserve to die." "No" Mitch said defiantly. As we tried to swim to the beach I noticed since we bobbed in the water the Japanese thought we were dead. We must have been in the water for two hours. Mitch began to tire but was more determined than ever. As I worried about Mitch I was at least thankful that we were in Hawaii and it was warm. In cold water we would have died shortly after being in the water. We swam next to hundreds of dead bodies. They were charred and decayed bringing a harsh reality to what had happened. Others were still alive screaming and drowning. They prayed in what was their last moment. I began not to feel sickened or sad I felt ,better them than me. Right now I thought I can only worry about myself. Around about ten we finally made the beach and the Japanese began to leave our navy decimated. Finally, the nightmare seemed to be over. As I soon remembered Mitch had been shot. He lay on the beach dieing. I ran over tending to him as blood continued to spurt out.
"I sincerely said, without you I wouldn't be here." He defiantly said "no you had the strength you just needed to realize it." "A man's strength comes from within." I started to thank him but he shook his head saying, "No thanks are needed." "I did my job now you do yours." What is my job?" "Mitch in his last words uttered; never to forget." "Take a good look." "I hope there is never a day like this again." "No one will ever know what it's like, except maybe the ones who lived in it. Be sure, though ,Billy not to forget me and the ones who didn't." "That", he said weakly "is your job." I could not help from crying. As I watched my best friend take his last breath. Without him I would not be anywhere. An assistant told me I had to go to the bomb shelter. He said "we can not be sure that the Japanese are gone for good." That was the last thing that has meant something to me.
Mitch was one of the 2,403 dead. I watched as on December 8, 1941 Teddy Roosevelt and the congress declare war on Japan. The president declares the day the day of Infamy. On the 9th, Germany and their allies, Italy declared war on the United States. On the 11th, we officially put our selves in the next Great War, WWII. Germany declared war on us so that the Japanese would attack Russia. Mitch fulfilled his promise and sent a letter to my parents. In his will, he had it that when he died a letter would be sent to them to tell of my valor in combat. My parents called and said how proud they were of me and for once they were not mad, instead, for once they told me they loved me. Without Mitch that would not be possible. I will never forget Captain Jonathan Mitchell or the day that made me a man. If there was ever a hero, he was it. Sure, Babe Ruth hit all those home runs but he did not save a life like Mitch did. Mitch did not just save me in one way but many. He saved me physically and mentally.
On June 6th 1945, I watched the final nuclear bomb hit Japan. That day my relief hit me that it was over. All the emotional torment the war had caused was over. I came home to be treated like a hero. It was incredible how proud my family was of me. I always was a failure to them, but now I was worth something. They, like many, always said that eventually you forget. That time will ease the pain. Even so, some things never pass. Some times time can not mend the wounds of war. For me it never has passed. I, Billy Boyd, was lucky enough to say I survived Pearl Harbor and World war two. I thought eventually, even I thought it would end. Today I have written this story showing it has not passed and that on the beach at Pearl Harbor the words Mitch said to me will always be with me along with the Day of Infamy.
This story is dedicated to all those unsung heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country and future.