This is a July 4th Weekend Post in honor of Veterans


7 December 1941, America enters WWII

“A day that shall live in Infamy!”

A warm Sunday morning; about 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. Church bells, laughter a day of peace and rest. My dad, A.C. Weatherly Jr. is shaving and about to step ashore but on this day that would not happen. Klaxons Sounded, Squawk Box Screamed, Air Raid Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

A crash of steel upon steel, ripped, screaming from forces not meant to be; Main deck, deck plates, deck after deck and into the mud below. A deafening Roar as the torpedo detonates. The hull rises, falls and lists. USS Raleigh (CL-7) became an early casualty at Pearl Harbor that Day. Round One.

Damage control underway. Gaping holes and torn seams shored for now. Then, impact Two… this time horizontal as the an armor piercing bomb slams through bulkheads. Some survivors there but below decks, not a pretty site. The fight goes on.

Retrospective- Courageous acts by officers and men saved most souls on board. She was kept afloat by jettisoning everything not permanently attached; barges supported, pumps counter-flooded and breaches were shored. Raleigh made it and survived for the duration. Just one ship that day out of many. Our Navy’s greatest loss for a time. Life and Fight go on.
________________________________________________
After that we were honored to have dad home again.
Peace is won through strength.

Vigilance must never fail. Thanks to that Greatest Generation, so few now but always honored and yet we pay tribute and go on to fight our wars and win the peace for future generations.

Link below is Raleigh in 1942, ready for action:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Raleigh_%28CL-7%29_July_1942.jpg
USS Raleigh (CL-7) July 1942

5 Comments

July 2, 2011 · 6:39 pm

5 responses to “This is a July 4th Weekend Post in honor of Veterans

  1. Mary McReynolds

    This reminds me of the film Pearl Harbor which so dramatically captured the horrors of that infamous attack. Your dad was among the blessed who made it through.

    • Indeed, he and most of his shipmates were blessed beyond measure. This is especially true when you consider that he was below decks at the time.

      Something you may not have noticed in this blogs design. If you are in the view showing as single blog, e.g. https://richweatherly.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/58/
      Right below the header image you see fine print with an arrow and text. Example: ← Independence Day Weekend – This Date in History, July 2nd
      This allows you to navigate between posts within this gallery view. Pretty cool I think.

      The Pearl Harbor Attack was horrific. If I’m not mistaken it represented the greatest loss of life on American soil from foreign enemy attack.
      The 9/11 Attacks changed that and we are back at war.

      Thank you again for recognizing God’s blessing and the sacrifices of that infamous day.

  2. Rich, this post gave me goosebumps not to mention bringing tears to my eyes. First & foremost, let me express my gratitude to your father, to you, & to your family for your courage & strength.

    Like Mary, my mind kept flashing to the vivid depictions in Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor”, but also to Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, & Toshio Masuda’s “Tora! Tora! Tora!” &, although they’re ‘Hollywood’, both of these movies move me. Those, of course, are not the only things I have watched or read regarding the trials & tribulations of our great nation, they’re simply the images that came first to my mind whilst reading this post. If ‘Hollywood’ should manage to serve as a tool by which to remind us all of the prices paid throughout history for our freedom & security, so be it. Hopefully, it will serve that purpose at some point for future generations, as well, rather than being viewed as ordinary entertainment.

    I never forget that it is a privilege–bestowed upon me by the courageous souls of veterans such as your father, those on active duty today, those who will join their ranks in the future, & their families–to sit here, safely at my computer, reading your memoir of your father’s telling of that harrowing day aboard the U.S.S. Raleigh & leave a comment of gratitude to him as well as to your family for supporting him. I thank you for sharing this with the world & putting that horrific day into a personal perspective rather than a ‘Hollywood’ one.

    Yes, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States are the Pearl Harbor of my generation. However, younger though I may be, I haven’t forgotten that it is not the only time so many lives have been tragically lost due to an enemy attack on our American soil. Regardless of age, the citizens of our nation need to be reminded of all these events & give thanks to the watchers on the wall–past, present, & future–not only on holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day, but always.

    Blessed Be.

    • Cari, I can’t thank you enough for your compelling remarks. They brought tears to my eyes.

      I’ve given this piece some thoughts this week and I’m glad you dug deep to find it. I’m seriously considering expanding this into flash fiction or possibly a short story. As a Vietnam veteran, I’m looking to this years Veteran’s day with peaked interest. This year it will be 11hr, 11th day and for the first time since the Armistice the 11th year of a century.

      Thank you again,
      Rich

      • Rich, it’s humbling that you would express gratitude to me. I, as a proud American woman, am eternally grateful to all those who have served, are serving, or will serve our great nation. You’re most welcome for my remarks as they are much deserved & sincerely heartfelt.

        I fully encourage you to move forth with your writing & expand upon this piece, especially in light of the very intriguing significance of the numbers of this year’s Veteran’s day. May your words serve to open the eyes of any who have forgotten the courage of conviction as well as the personal cost it has taken to gain & preserve our nation’s freedom & how precariously close we have come, throughout history, to losing that precious gift.

        Wishing many blessings to you & yours,

        Cari

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