Twenty years ago, I worked at a newspaper and did an interview with a local man who was a Pearl Harbor survivor.
He said that morning he was up and among the first men to eat at the Mess Hall at Wheeler Field because he only had so much time for breakfast, and after he ate he wanted to take a smoke break before starting his duties of the day.
After gobbling breakfast, he and some buddies exited the mess hall and were right outside, puffing away, when the Japanese bombers arrived.
The concussion of the bombs dropped into the mess hall blew open the doors and threw him and his buddies onto the tarmac. As he picked looked up, he realized the Japanese had targeted the mess hall to kill all the men eating breakfast. I can't repeat what he said went through his mind at the time.
He served the entire war and came out alive. Fifty years later, when I interviewed him, he was still angry about the attack.
And he still smoked.
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