Thursday, December 07, 2006

One of Those Days

Dec. 7, 1941. “A day that will live in infamy.”

Yes, indeed.

Much like Nov. 22, 1963 and Sept. 11, 2001, Dec. 7, 1941 was one of those days. A tipping point in history.

Yes, a tipping point that altered the course of history — both on a macro scale in world events and on a micro scale in the personal lives of so many people.

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. With their wedding scheduled for Dec. 27, my parents were readying for their life together. As natives of Johnstown, Pa., they were preparing to move to Pittsburgh. My father had a job lined up and, on the afternoon of Dec. 7, they left the Shadyside apartment for which they had just signed a lease and went on to hear the news on the radio.

Pearl Harbor.

My father turned to my mother and said, “I’m going to get drafted, so I might as well enlist.”

He tried, but he was turned down as a 4-F deferment because of a hernia.

He told my mother he was going to get drafted anyway. He did.

As a smart guy, he was assigned to Army Intelligence. Which, of course, is the classic oxymoron, so he was mistakenly put on a train and shipped to camps in Arkansas and Tennessee before the Army figured out its mistake and reeled him back to Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, he went to work as an undercover agent infiltrating German bunds and busting saboteurs planning to blow up Philadelphia’s rail and ship yards. He was a member of the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), which apparently was a precursor to the CIA. He could have had a career in the Army or the CIA.

When the war ended, however, he retired from the Army.

He just wanted to go home.


Anonymous said...

That's a pretty interesting story.

Dr. Paul Shemp said...

While many bloggers take the chance to take this day to attempt and make humor out of a serious day, you hit it home with this succinct and personal story. A great post and something to think about on this somber day.