A veteran pays tribute to Pearl Harbor Day
Dec 02, 2012 | 588 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Editor’s Note: The following poems were written and submitted by Cleveland resident Claude Wallace, a veteran of World War II. They are intended to honor Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day which is Friday, Dec. 7. The copyrighted poems were first published in “Memories of Life,” a collection of poetry authored by Wallace. The copyright date is Jan. 25, 2011. The poems are reprinted today at the author’s request and with his permission).

December 7, 1941

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.

It was such a surprise, why, we could hardly man a gun.

They bombed and sunk our ships because the crew were few.

Then, they bombed our Air Force at Hickam Field, too.

Then, they turned and left, the island was a mess.

Why they did this terrible deed is anybody’s guess.

When the smoke cleared away and the damage we could see,

This act will always be remembered by Americans like me.

But the U.S. wasn’t whipped, not by a country mile.

We just had to think things over and that took awhile.

Gen. McArthur left the Philippines for a short spell,

Then he began retaking those islands and it was hell.

Then the big battle at Midway, it really turned the tide.

But oh so many men in that battle had to die.

They say freedom costs, but oh what a price to pay.

I wonder just how many Americans think of that price today.

Then came Iwo, oh man, that battle there was a living hell.

We lost so many good men there, it’s really hard to tell.

Now those American boys just kept fighting, whatever the cost,

But America will always remember that great and terrible loss.

Then on to Okinawa, there too we lost so many good men.

It seemed these battles in the Pacific just would never end.

Then on August 6th and 9th, 1945, Japan got the big blast.

The Japanese called it quits, the emperor said we can’t last.

Well here is to my buddies who gave their all.

I for one will never forget you, but the percentage is small.

To me you were the greatest, God will love and care for you.

You honored America greatly — Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, too.

The USS Arizona BB 39

Now, the First Lady of the sea, ‘Oh, so fine!’

Was the USS Arizona BB 39.

She was a very special warship, so complete,

She was called the queen of the “Great White Fleet.”

It was June 19, 1915, when she touched the waters of the deep,

Because she was the biggest, and most powerful of the fleet.

The crew were 55 officers and 1,620 enlisted men.

This was the most men on a ship that had ever been.

She didn’t run too slow for she had the power.

At full speed ahead, she could do 23 miles per hour.

She had 4 heavy anchors, each weighing 10 tons.

Her fire power was great, she had 12 14-inch guns.

608 feet long and 97 feet wide,

She sailed the oceans gracefully and with pride.

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover came aboard for a little cruise.

He liked it so well they took his picture with the men in their blues.

Then while sitting in Pearl Harbor that beautiful December day,

The [Japanese] pulled a cowardly act, but the U.S. made them pay.

The Lady took a hit, 8 bombs, one hit the forward powder room.

This caused the black powder to ignite; oh man, what a boom.

1,104 men still stand watch in the deep.

They will be there forever because of this Japanese creep.

Oh, they are not forgotten by the Navy of today.

God, take care of those honorable men; that’s all I have to say.