Pearl Harbor-What God Did That Day
Really interesting, and I never knew this little bit of history:
Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every
thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes.
I went into a small gift shop to kill time.
In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, "Reflections on
Pearl Harbor " by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Sunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending an
afternoon concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a
phone call for him. When he answered, it was President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt on the phone. Pearl Harbor had been attacked. He told
Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.
He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.
There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would
have thought the Japanese had already won the war.
On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given
a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.
Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every
where you looked.
As the tour boat returned to dock, the young
helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after
seeing all this destruction?" Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone
within the sound of his voice.
Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes
an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.
Which do you think it was?"
Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked,
"What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an
attack force ever made?" Nimitz explained:
"Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.
"Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were
ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been
sunk, we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.
"Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined
in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they
never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had
destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those
ships to the mainland to be repaired.
"As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and
can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can
have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to
the mainland . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those
"Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war
is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.
One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel
"That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an
attack force could make...or God was taking care of America."
I've never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an
inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because
Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas --
he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it--Admiral Nimitz was
able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where
everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.
President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We
desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of
the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.
There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.
Why have we forgotten?
PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY