Vol. 11


Watching Over Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA1

My great-grandpa could have died if he had not gone to church. While in the United States Navy, Great-Grandpa Frank and his brother were deployed to beautiful Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. They slept on the USS Schley, a World War I destroyer ship. Little did they know that a few hours later an attack from Japan would almost cost them their lives.

Frank woke up on Sunday, December 7, 1941, wanting to go to church. He walked next door to his brother’s cabin and told him to get up, because they were going to mass. Bob, his brother, just continued to sleep, because he had stayed up late the night before. Frank again tried to rouse his sleeping brother, but to no avail. Frank then ripped off the sheets and threw open the curtains — and finally Bob awoke. Bob did not want to go to church, but gave up arguing and followed Frank out the door.

Frank led the way as they leisurely strolled up to church on a cloudless, sunny day. The church building stood on a hill, and from there you could see the expanse of Pearl Harbor. As the mass ceremony began, sirens started blaring. They were under attack!

Frank and Bob rushed outside, where a sickening sight met their eyes. What they saw would change the course of history. Japanese planes rained down bombs on the ships moored in Pearl Harbor. As terrified as they were, Frank and Bob knew they had to help.

Frank tore down the hill with Bob on his heels. They raced across the shore, trying to get to the USS Schley, but the wreckage in the water made it impossible to board the ship. A feeling of helplessness washed over Frank. Just as he was about to give up hope, Frank spotted a small sailing boat docked a couple of yards away. Frank and Bob clambered in and discovered that the boat was full of firefighting equipment. They pushed off into the harbor. While Bob drenched blazing fires on shore, Frank pulled drowning people out of the water.

Frank and Bob saved dozens of lives. If they had not gone to church that day, Bob and Frank could have died in the bombing. Frank believed God called him to church so he wouldn’t die and so he could save other people. My great-grandpa Frank said that if you put your faith in God, he will keep you safe — and that is exactly what God did.

Paige Hunt; Missouri, USA


1. In 1941 Hawaii was a U.S. territory. It became the fiftieth state in 1959.


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