Sunday, January 28, 2007

12/07/06: A Day to Remember

December 7th.

Yes, it's Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. And it's so much more.

You see, my grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, the most devastating attack upon American soil until 9/11. Notice, please, that I didn't say "in" Pearl Harbor. No, he was on the USS Ward, an insignificant destroyer that was patrolling outside the harbor in the early hours of December 7.

Yes, the crew of the Ward saw something curious in the waters outside the harbor. Quickly they identified the curious object as a Japanese submarine, upon which they emmitted a depth charge and sunk just outside the Harbor before dawn. And thus, the crew of the USS Ward discharged the first American shot of World War II.

Many, many years later, the submarine was found by divers, right where the Ward reported discharging their weapons.

Then December 7 became even more important for my family when 1944 rolled around. The Ward was hit by a Japanese kamikaze pilot and my grandfather, Captain Farwell, managed to evacuate all the men with no casualties.

The men of the Ward were rescued by the USS O'Brien, captained by William Outerbridge, who piloted the Ward at Pearl Harbor. Outerbridge had to give the order to scuttle the Ward, so with my grandfather at his side, the two men who had captained the Ward watched it disappear into the sea.

Here's a link to a picture of my grandfather in his later years:

And a link to his version of what happened at Pearl Harbor:

Other 7's run through my family: my grandparents were married on January 7, 1942, and my mother was born on October 7, 1943.

Then I gave birth to my youngest child on December 7, who was named for my grandfather; we gave our baby his middle name. My grandfather was not alive to meet his namesake, but I think he'd be proud just the same to have a great-grandson born on this memorable day.

So Happy 7th Birthday to B, born on this most important day in the history of our family.

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