In the present day is the eightieth anniversary of the only largest and most deadly assault on america — till 9/11. It’s the eightieth anniversary of the assault on Pearl Harbor — ” a day that may stay in infamy.”
Pearl Harbor occurred precisely 13 years earlier than I used to be born, nearly to the day.
In an odd, eerie approach, had it not been for Pearl Harbor, I’d by no means have been born.
Flashback. It’s the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, someday within the late Sixties or early Seventies. I’m already a younger teenager. I see my mom, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
“Why are you crying?” I ask her.
She had solely two phrases for me. “Pearl Harbor.”
My mom advised me a narrative that I had not recognized, however that I’ve by no means forgotten.
It was about her then-boyfriend, within the early Nineteen Forties. The boyfriend who enlisted within the Navy. The boyfriend who was stationed at Pearl Harbor.
The boyfriend who died within the assault.
“I may need married him,” she stated to me.
My late mother and father married in 1951 — a full decade after Pearl Harbor. They’d a beautiful marriage — for greater than 34 years.
However, nonetheless, December 7 introduced up that reminiscence for her — of the love that she misplaced at Pearl Harbor.
In our lives, there are any variety of issues that occur to us, and that trigger us to vary route — and we will by no means know what life would have been like had they not occurred.
I’ve the story of Joseph in thoughts. The braggart, Joseph, seeks his brothers. A sure man tells him that he had heard that they had been pasturing their flocks in Dothan.
Joseph finds his brothers, and so they strip him of his coat. They promote him into slavery. He winds up in Egypt. He restructures the Egyptian economic system; saves his circle of relatives from famine, inflicting them to wind up there — and their descendants to be there, and to turn into enslaved, and to emerge throughout the Exodus….
Which is why we’ve got Passover.
Which is how Jewish historical past occurred.
Had Joseph not discovered his brothers, he would have returned to his father, Jacob, and stated: “The blokes? Haven’t seen them. Oh, nicely.”
Which might have resulted in a shorter ebook of Genesis. And, no ebook of Exodus.
No Jewish historical past.
And so, yearly, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I consider my late mom and her late boyfriend/would have been fiance/would have been husband.
However, had he not enlisted, and had he not gone to Pearl Harbor, my mom may need married him.
The I that I’d not have been born.
One final thing about Pearl Harbor.
On December 6, 1941, the USS Arizona took on a full load of practically 1.5 million gallons of gas. The following day, it was hit — and since that fateful day, it continues to leak gas — as much as 9 quarts of oil into the harbor every day.
That is how reminiscence works. Reminiscence and reminiscences have a approach of continuous to leak into the waters of our lives.
It by no means actually runs out.
For years, there have been huge efforts to determine the entire casualties from December 7, 1941.
That work — discovering the identities of the lifeless, and informing their family members — is holy work, kavod ha-met, honoring the lifeless.
However, there are nonetheless 33 our bodies from the assault that can not be recognized.
The navy now says that it will possibly not prolong this sacred mission.
As a result of, sure: it’s a mitzvah to determine the lifeless, and to achieve out to their family members.
And, sure: generally, we can not full the work that we’ve got began — holy because it may be.
And, sure: I’m wondering if my late mom’s late boyfriend has residing family members, and whether or not they have been contacted.
On December 7, yearly, I consider my late mom’s late boyfriend. I muse on what may need been, and due to this fact, on what won’t have been.
However, greater than that: I consider the tears that we nonetheless shed, so many people, for therefore many issues in our lives and within the lifetime of our nation. and within the lifetime of the world.
As a result of, in every of us, there may be the wreckage of one thing — and that wreckage won’t leak oil, but it surely leaks one thing.
The leak is someplace deep in our soul.