~a day for remembering.....
~an excerpt from a couple of interviews that my father-in-law gave back in the 90's.
The entry in James Cocarus' diary for Sunday, December 7,1941, the day the Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor and surrounding Military installations, is frank and defiant.
It reads,"Papers say more than I can except for a few incidents that can't be discussed. Buddies getting killed and good men dying like flies. Sure took us by surprise. What stopped them from taking over the island will always keep me wondering. It was theirs for the asking. Our day will come soon."
That prophetic entry was penned 50 years ago, but Cocarus, like other survivors from that momentous day, doesn't need his notes or abundant photographs to recall the details of the surprise attack, and all that ensued in the following three or four years. Everything is still etched clearly on his mind.
Probe a little, and you will find a void that will never be filled. A void that boils down to two days out of the 25,550 plus he has seen so far. Two days that appeared on the calendar almost 50 years ago. Of course, Cocarus, along with thousands of others, remembers and will never forget Dec. 7th 1941, when Japanese attacked sleepy Pearl Harbor, destroying a major portion of the U.S. Navy and marking the nations's official entry into World War II.That day dawned when Cocarus, who had been attached as an airplane sheet metal mechanic to the 7th Air Force at Hickam Field in Hawaii for over a year, awoke to work in the mess hall while his buddies headed off to Hanger 17 to await the arrival of a flight of B-17 bombers.
Everyone anticipated the Japanese would strike, Cocarus says and he recalls hearing rumors about where the attack would occur, but no one seriously thought thought it would be
Pearl Harbor. And even when the infamous attack began, it took a while to fully comprehend what was going on, Cocarus remembers.
"While on K.P. we heard lot of explosions", he recalls."So we went outside to see what was going on. Planes were buzzing around and at first, thought it was weekend "maneuvers" until we saw the bombs dropping and saw the big red symbol on the planes. Then it hit us- the Japanese were attacking Hawaii".
Then things started happening real fast.
"We got our rifles and G.I.'s set up machine guns on the parade ground and began returning fire as the Japanese had now started attacking Hickam Field, strafing and bombing", Cocarus says, words not really effectively expressing what what must have been the shear terror of the moment.
"The planes were low enough so you could actually see the smiling face of the pilot as he fired away at his target" he says.
Evasive action was necessary and he and several others jumped into a car and headed for their posts at a nearby lumber yard. Then the future began looking a little dim for as a Japanese plane headed towards them.
They quickly ditched the car and sprinted for what appeared to be the relative safety of the parade ground, away from the airplane hangers and the flight lines packed with aircraft.
"As we were heading across the parade ground their was one pattern of bombs", he remembers. "If there had been one more bomb.....
~So as we remember all that have sacrificed to give us the freedoms that we take for granted , please pause and be thankful for all that it is that we have.
~recipe for the above dessert~
oven to 350
2 pkg crescent rolls
1-8oz pkg of cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 lb strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
8 oz cool whip
open crescent rolls and spread on (pampered chef stone)
cook for 12-15 min
mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest
spread on cooled, cooked, dough
spread cool whip
arrange fruit in a "flag pattern"(sprinkle lemon juice on cut fruit to help preserve)