This week in the month of September is a week of remembering. It is a week to remember the 2,977 people who died during the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I like to remember them by praying for their families, reading their stories as well as the stories of those who survived, and thinking back to the day and how it changed our world forever.
On that fateful September day, I was at work at my desk in Atlanta, GA. I hadn’t been there long, and my mom called to see if I had heard the news. It is a day I will never forget. My co-workers and I gathered around the only television in the building to watch the news reports and then worked side by side in eerie silence the rest of the day. The events that day challenged my sense of safety, heightened my love for my country, and made me thankful for the loved ones in my life even more.
Throughout our nation’s history, there are moments and people that we must never forget. While writing Song of Return, which takes place directly after World War II, I came across radio programs remembering those lost at Pearl Harbor. This coming December will mark the 79th anniversary of the event in which The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor on Honolulu, Hawaii. The surprise strike, much like the 9/11 surprise strikes, killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178 others.
One way the people of the World War II era remembered Pearl Harbor was through song. Bandleader and songwriter, Sammy Kaye, recorded “Let’s Remember Pearl Harbor” ten days after the outbreak the war. The song was named after the popular “Remember Pearl Harbor” slogan, honored those who had been lost, and rallied the country together in their name. Take a listen to this 1942 hit and remember those lost both at Pearl Harbor and on 9/11.
“History in every century records an act that lives forevermore. We’ll recall, as in to line we fall, the thing that happened on Hawaii’s shore,” Ava sang Don Reid’s and Sammy Kaye’s tribute to those who fell at Pearl Harbor. “Let’s remember Pearl Harbor as we go to meet the foe.”
Song of Return, Chapter 9