Lest We Forget



Denise gracefully hosts Six Sentence Stories, where writers unleash their magic under one simple rule: in no more or no less than 6 sentences.
This week’s prompt word is : RANGE


Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire…”


He was flying above the clouds at an altitude just above 2000 meters; a glorious sun emerged at the eastern sky making the wings of his plane shine in the morning sunlight of December 7th, 1941.

Adjusting the radio antenna the pilot tuned in the Honolulu radio station broadcasting to the US forces in Hawaii ; They still don’t know we are coming he thought upon listening to Glen Miller’s “Sunrise Serenade”.

Under his direct command were two squadrons of torpedo planes and level bombers; himself was carrying an 830 kg torpedo designed for the shallow water of Oahu island & Pearl Harbor; he opened the canopy and looked one last time to the big formation of planes behind him…his band of brothers, all wearing the white hachimaki gifted to them by their maintenance crews at the aircraft carrier Akagi.

It was another day in paradise for everyone down at Pearl Harbor…Sunday morning, minutes before 8 a.m. no one expected that all hell would break loose as high above the clouds the Japanese commander fired a Black Dragon flare to signal the order to attack; the radio order was given : “To, to, to, to”- it was 7.49 a.m.

Immediately dive bombers climbed to 4000 meters, level bombers came under the cloud cover and he and the rest of the torpedo planes dived down to sea level; he corrected his course towards his designated target, the USS West Virginia (BB-48)…as soon as the optimal range was reached, he released his torpedo and before banking to the left, he could see a Navy sailor standing on West Virginia’s port side looking directly to his eyes as he flew past him…

More than 2,400 killed and nearly 1,200 wounded;  429 men died when the  USS Oklahoma (BB-37) was torpedoed and capsized… Admiral Yamamoto stated there was no glory in mauling a “sleeping enemy”…on December 8th 1941, 81 years ago, F.D. Roosevelt delivers his speech to a joint session of Congress “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy…” 


Photo taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. A torpedo has just hit West Virginia (BB-48) on the far side of Ford Island (center)


Vertical aerial view of “Battleship Row”, beside Ford Island, during the early part of the bombing attack on the ships moored there. Photographed from a Japanese aircraft. Ships seen are (from left to right): Nevada (BB-36), Arizona (BB-39) with Vestal (AR-4) moored outboard; Tennessee (BB-43) with West Virginia (BB-48) moored outboard; Maryland (BB-46) with Oklahoma (BB-37) moored outboard; and Neosho (AO-23), only partially visible at the extreme right. A bomb has just hit Arizona near the stern, but she has not yet received the bomb that detonated her forward magazines. West Virginia and Oklahoma are gushing oil from their many torpedo hits and are listing to port.


Crew evacuate the USS California during the chaos of the Pearl Harbor Attack as the order to abandon ship is given.


The explosion of the forward magazines of destroyer USS Shaw (DD-373) was one of the most dramatic moments of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Fighting fires on the sunken battleship West Virginia (BB-48), 7 December 1941.

Franklin Roosevelt’s changes to the first draft of his speech are clearly visible on “Draft No. 1.” In the opening sentence, he changed “world history” to “infamy” and “simultaneously” to “suddenly.” At one point, he considered putting the words “without warning” at the end of the sentence but later crossed them out. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)



Spira / Nick © December 2022


About Spira

” The eternal part of our being is conscious of the timeless essence of life & is aware that the past is nothing but a memento of the present and tomorrow a dream of the now. The very thing meditating & singing from within, remains always inside the boundaries of the primordial instant that scattered the stars into the cosmos.” Kh.Gibran

39 responses »

  1. Yes, an unprovoked attack was unconscionable. But I make two points:
    1. The debate still rages as to whether the US Navy should have seen it coming.
    2, The numbers of military personnel who died at Pearl Harbor pales in significance when compared to the hundreds of thousands of civilians who died as a result of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the fire-bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

    History is seldom simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • History is never simple.
      Believe me I know.
      Valid points.
      To the first I would add the breakdown in communication following the pocket Japanese submarine incident and the radar signal confusion. Some even go at length to say , that the US goverment knew ( hence no aircraft carrier was there) and allowed the incoming attack as leverage to push the reluctant US opinion in favor of entering WW II.
      To the second point you make, adding to that, I would ask the readers attention to turn towards the Dresden bombing; another Allied Forces act that is hushed historically.
      Nevertheless, remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor has its own purpose and value.
      And, whether some like it or not, both (purpose and value) are quite important.
      It is not an all encompassing evaluation of the war or those who participated in it.
      Finally,as a member of a family that has been to the seas for generations and also served a combined service of 64 years at the Hellenic Navy (between my father, my brother and me- of which, for 30 years we all three served at the same combat unit)…I reserve the right to be partial towards the event for more than historical reasons.
      Thank you, Doug for the thought provoking comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Understood. Every year on April 25, Australians honour the fallen from the disastrous landing on Gallipoli beach in Turkey in 1915, at the behest of the British, in an operation designed by that military ‘genius’, Winston Churchill. Lest we forget.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. No glory, pure infamy. Thank you for taking us through this, especially through the eyes of the Japanese pilot. Somehow it makes it even more indefensible, a sneak attack that took thousands of lives and in the most horrific way imaginable. Will there ever be a war to end all wars? If this one didn’t do it, I hardly think there will be. Not until time itself comes to an end. Great writing, Nick, line by line, detail by detail, you kept me on the edge of my seat. And that last bit, the meeting of the eyes: wow. All the books in the world couldn’t say as much. Am I my brother’s keeper?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dora…I will start from the end of your powerful comment/thought.
      “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
      In moments as that is when we face our humanity and the horrors our civilization has created with endless wars.
      Yet…bear with me, dear Dora, as I will give you an account of the continuation of the story of that pilot…in real life.
      He survived the war and he was critical towards the decisions Japanese Armed Forces made; especially, with the way airmen were used as live bombs with what we now name as the Kamikaze directive.
      In 2006 he participated at a reconciliation ceremony at Pearl Harbor between survivors of that day:Japanese pilots & American enlisted men.
      He came face to face with a US Navy Signal sailor of the USS West Virginia.
      Knowing he was responsible for sinking his ship, the Japanese pilot extended his hand, and bowing in tears said ” I am sorry”.
      The American sailor accepted the handshake and responded:
      ” You have nothing to be sorry about. You had your orders and you followed them through. I had my orders,too.
      We were both soldiers in war.”
      They remained friends till their physical death.
      Dora, I am deeply moved by your reaction.
      Thank you is not enough but be certain, it is a heartfelt one.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Had no idea there was an ending to the story. Thank you for that. Reminds me of the Kipling lines:
        “OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
        Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
        But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
        When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Shay.
      I really appreciate you and your thoughts.
      If there is a slim chance of advancing as species/civilization, then roots/lessons of the past must be acknowledged. And acted upon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I appreciate that you included the admiral’s statement that there was no glory in this attack. Both sides knew that. Both sides committed what could easily be argued to be atrocious acts and they also were desperate acts to bring about a conclusion to a brutal war that seemed to have no end in sight. Makes me think of the term “moral injury”, the invisible psychic and wounds of those nasty jobs a few undertake on behalf of the many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marshal Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was against invading China and against the war between Japan & United States. He was in continuous confrontation with the Japanese army command. He planned the attack on Pearl Harbor (being from the first who realized the importance in warfare of aircraft carriers) in an effort to neutralize the US aircraft carriers mainly and the Pacific Fleet.

      What you refer to with ” moral injury” is a huge topic and a painful truth we collectively avoid.
      I concur with your every word.
      Thank you, D.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That was quite the enthralling account of Pearl Harbour, a balanced point of view for both sides. War begets war and its inherent retaliations and escalations. There is no just war for the antagonist , just violence and vindictiveness. It’s good to the memories alive so we can perhaps learn, there are no winners in wars, it’s a zero sum game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zero sum game, so true…
      That is the hope, Len, isn’t it? To finally learn…even if our history/present record leaves not much room for that hope.
      I appreciate you Len and your insight.


  5. Thank you, my dear Nick. The day went by this year without a single word, no acknowledgement. Not a peep was heard; I guess the powers that be were too caught up in exchanging prisoners in Russia to give a damn about the men and women who were killed that day. Indeed a day that will live in infamy. We proudly displayed our flag as we always do. Thank you for remembering. 🇺🇸
    Good morning from New York; I leave you with this, my friend:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nancy, cara mia, the trolls have locked your comment as spam but I was searching for your comment…because I knew in my heart that you would not pass by this story without a word…and right I was.
      Thank you for telling it like it is. Separate the tree from its roots and it will fall…I could go on a full blown rant but Clark used Ozzy’s lyrics that say one part of the story:
      Politicians hide themselves away
      They only started the war
      Why should they go out to fight?
      They leave that role to the poor

      The other part is the responsibility that lies with each and every one of us; to understand, to forgive…yes, but never forget.
      As D said earlier, it is convenient to look away from “wounds of those nasty jobs a few undertake on behalf of the many.”…it has become politically incorrect to even acknowledge or raise a flag as the least tribute to the sacrifices made and upon which our liberties stand.
      You know what, though…as long as there are people who do not forget, who remember everything (and not pick and choose), there is some measure of hope.
      Thank you for your strong and proud thoughts, Nancy.
      Good morning to you, too. Thank you for posting the Glen Miller song of that day.
      And I will leave you with this, my dear friend:
      Each of you, for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility, must speak. It is a solemn and weighty responsibility and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government or politician. Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man, to decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor. It is traitorous both against yourself and your country. Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.
      Mark Twain

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, so now I am infamous on WordPress! Interesting; I had no idea my comment was locked; that is somehow quite satisfying to hear. I never would have said what I did if I didn’t believe it to be true and I will gladly say it again without hesitation. Thank you for enlightening me, Nick; I said not to long ago “Being famous is too much so unappealing with all its trappings and baggage. I’d rather be infamous”. I’ve reached my goal! 💫

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Outstanding Six.

    Fascinating reading and, the mark of a well-written Six, conducive to interesting conversation among the Readers.

    (The latter, imo, demands far more of the author than the former… nicely done)

    as to thoughts and reflections on the historical event at the center of your Six this week? the true measure of the skill of the other commenters is that I can find merit with virtually every point they’ve made (in the Comments above).

    [Because of the solid reasoning of the others, perhaps what they say about the true nature of Eden’s Apple might offer a slightly off-center perspective.

    Maybe Adam and Eve’s decision to eat the fruit of the Garden cursed them not with the knowledge of good and evil, but instilled in them the conviction that Power is a virtue; power exerted by an individual or a group, it mattered not, the willingness to abdicate free will can be seen at the root of most human tragedy, by this view, at any rate.]

    ‘cellent Six, yo

    Ozz…zi! take us out!!

    Politicians hide themselves away
    They only started the war
    Why should they go out to fight?
    They leave that role to the poor, yeah

    Liked by 2 people

    • Time will tell on their power minds
      Making war just for fun
      Treating people just like pawns in chess
      Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!
      Thank you , Clark, my Guy to my right!
      Power is a virtue…and the belief power exerted is an unavoidable, intrinsic human/group of humans condition… yes, that seems like the Apple.
      The discussion in the comments is such a pleasure/honor to be a part of.
      Ain’t that ecosystem what we try to replicate at Two Guys and a Girlie, an engaging discussion of various perspectives?
      My thanks, again, master Weaver.


  7. Hello Spira, another powerful Six Sentence Story offering – a great tribute. I too think that nobody wins a war and I don’t apportion blame to any side. I do however take time to remember all souls lost on both sides. I can’t due to health and financial restrictions physically visit the poppy fields of Europe or go to Pearl Harbour to pay my respects, but I do visit “virtually” using a flight simulator and spend time circling each location on Remembrance days. I will never forget them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, FT. Thank you for your thoughts, mate.
      Flying…oh, I don’t think this comment section has enough space for me to develop my lifelong relation and love of flying!
      The amazing feat the latest Microsoft Flying Simulator is, where our planet is replicated in full detail and anyone can fly over landscapes and cities of our world…just mind blowing, in scale and execution. I will confess that setting up a rig dedicated to that flight sim is a dream of mine.
      I love your Remembrance flybys.
      Enjoy your weekend and the skies, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello again, ah Microsoft Flight Simulator, yes I have had every version of MSFS since FS98. I only stopped regular simming when I had to pack my PC up when I moved home and didn’t have anywhere to set up in my new flat. But I had fun building scenery and painting aircraft models..
        The really clever thing was that you could set the time and date back to certain events in past history and “relive” them – almost like a time machine..

        p.s. I also had some Eurocypria liveried aircraft that I downloaded and flew around Greece a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Nice to meet you- I am Nick, btw.
      I enjoyed reading your “Allure” and really liked your lino-print; was it a one-off or you have more to share with us?


  8. Compelling and so vividly told, Nick.
    I personally don’t know anyone unfamiliar with the horrific events of that day and while your words painted the scene in detail, the 5 photographs following drove home the tragedy of that day. No, I daresay, we not forget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Denise, we should not forget; now, wouldn’t it be nice to actually learn and not repeat those horrors?
      I am glad and honored that my tribute carried the message.

      Thank you, Denise…By The Company Of Warriors I Keep.


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