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Friday, November 21, 2008

Send us your photos and mementos of Pearl Harbor

I have a photograph of my father that reveals little about the world in which he lived. Dressed in his Navy uniform, he's standing with his buddies, smiling, seemingly without a worry in the world.

The truth is, the world at that time had many worries. He was in that uniform because of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Like nearly everyone of his generation, he rushed to do the only thing he could think of. He enlisted.

My memories of him remain vivid, but it seems that our nation's collective memory of the world after Pearl Harbor continues to dim.

Because Dec. 7 falls on a Sunday this year, we'd like to bring back some of those memories.

We're looking for photographs or memories that illustrate how the world changed on Dec. 7, 1941.

They can be anything from life on the home front, to life on the the frontlines up until the end of the war.

My collection includes the things that my father thought were important enough to save, like his dog tags (at right) and a pocket prayer book.

The attack on Pearl Harbor defined his generation in much the same way Sept. 11, 2001 defined mine.

Pearl Harbor happened during perhaps the most difficult time our nation has faced.

Even though we're once again in perilous times - fighting two wars and struggling to keep the economy afloat - life isn't as dire as it was in the '30s and '40s.

Like most of his generation, my father talked little about his time in uniform.

He was in Pensacola, Fla., early in his service when he was injured while training for an assignment on an aircraft carrier.

He was attempting to attach a tie-down to a plane, when it snapped and struck him in the eye, nearly blinding him.

He spent most of the final year of the war in a military hospital, far away from his friends on the battlefield.

How much that time serving defined his life is hard to tell. I do know that it was the simple things in life that brought him the most joy.

He didn't strive so much to make sure that things went well in his life as he did to make sure things didn't go wrong.

I also suspect his experiences are not unlike so many others who were compelled to served their country after Pearl Harbor.

If you have a photograph, or anecdote to share, you can e-mail, mail or drop them off.

We can scan photographs and return them right away, if you let us know you'll be stopping by.

The deadline is Dec. 1.


Dan Plutchak
(262) 728-3424
120 Wright St.
Delavan, WI 53115

Dan Plutchak is an associate editor for CSI Media LLC, publisher of Walworth County Sunday.


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