Lest we forget.

We are scant weeks away from the 70th anniversary of the date when the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. It will not be honored in Washington nor will the sacrifices of the greatest generation receive much official notice. Even 10 years after 9/11 – with enemies that are still killing young Americans half a world away – the American people are no longer certain of their righteous might and have lost the will to win through to absolute victory. Certainly we have lost the leadership to convince us of those goals.

Not that they need to, having already achieved most of their goals, but, if the Japanese – or almost anyone else – were to stage a similar attack this December 7th they could expect a strongly worded letter of rebuke from the state department to be directed against the American allies who had allowed such a thing to happen and a personal apology from the current resident of the executive mansion. May God defend us!

Trapped at Pearl Harbor : escape from Battleship Oklahoma      Stephen Bower Young  World War, 1939-1945 Personal narratives, American  Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. : North River Press ; Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, c 1991 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 187 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 179-181) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

Author Stephen Young was a seaman first class assigned to gunnery duty in turret no. 4 on the Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Struck by a bomb, the battleship started to sink, and Young and others became trapped when it overturned. Young describes their terrifying experience with stunning clarity. He recounts the violence of the capsizing, which killed or injured many of the men, and the survivors’ frantic search for an escape route. He remembers their horror at finding all the exits blocked and their despair over the possibility of never being rescued.

This account of their experience is undeniably one of the most dramatic stories to unfold during the air raid. With incredible realism, Young describes the water’s inexorable rise, inch by awful inch; the sickening taste of fuel oil; the foul smell of the air; the nervous wisecracks echoing through the cold darkness; and finally the silence. The intensity and suspense rival that of any fictional thriller—the recounting of his escape is particularly spellbinding. To place his experiences in a broader context, Young also provides little-known tales of tragedy and bravery that occurred elsewhere on that Day of Infamy.


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