Two days from now Americans will honor those lost in the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. A total of 2,008 U.S. Navy members were killed that day and 710 were wounded. One hundred-nine Marines lost their lives and 68 were wounded. Sixty-eight civilians were killed and 35 were wounded.
When this day rolls around each year I always remember an old man I met many years ago when I had my local newspaper in Running Springs. He was there that day in Pearl Harbor. Each year he took his grief and with the help from some elementary school students from the San Bernardino area, they would honor those lost by planting pine tree seedlings along Hwy. 330 near the ranger station. He and the students would dig holes in the ground and plant the trees and water them as a way to remember those who died and that unbelievable day of infamy. They would come up occasionally and water the trees but the seedlings didn’t take root and they eventually, like so many victims of that terrible bombing, died.
I’ve never forgotten that man nor will I and while I don’t remember his name I will never forget what he did. It had been my privilege to go down and take photos of this annual event and I had the chance to talk to a lot of the students. I hope each of them, now grown, will remember that day. It was one man’s way of bringing life to something so terrible and although the trees are no longer along the highway I remember them. Each time I drive by I remember him and the project that meant so much to him and I honor him…..especially on “Pearl harbor Day,” the terrible day he chose to remember in a very beautiful way!