Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Pearl Harbor Remembered

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Pearl Harbor Remembered

Article excerpt

The school built an obstacle course in the playing fields,

a condensed version of those created to train foot soldiers,

for us high school boys, scrawny or fat, who would really

rather play catch.

We scaled walls in awkward scramble

to prepare retribution for the Japs,

which is what we called them, even the paunchy P. E. Teachers,

or the Na2is, although they were not responsible for Pearl Harbor.

Girls were excluded and allowed to play dodge ball

or just to giggle at the edges.

Our personal performance was as much for them as for the war.

We boys, urged on by these men, were serious, nevertheless,

as we crawled on elbows and knees

under fake barbed wire,

or swung on heavy hemp ropes from one platform to another

or climbed other ropes to crow at the top

before sliding down,

wishing not to burn our tender palms, but not always succeeding.

It was all glorious, and we were doing our part.

Eventually, we went to war as if to college.

The history teacher, who also coached baseball,

was dead in eighteen months from the real thing.

Stanley Theodoropoulos, who was faster than I was

in the 100 yard dash, but just barely, was blown apart

in the Batde of the Bulge while his older brother

survived no more than two miles away. …

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