Friday morning, members of Maricopa Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 12043 remembered what happened 77 years ago.
At 8:06 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, the last bomb hit the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. Local veterans solemnly raised the American flag on cue at 8:06 Friday in memory of the anniversary at the new Veterans Plaza in front of the Maricopa Police Department offices.
In a prayer opening the flag-raising, Mike Kemery, Arizona VFW state surgeon, said, “Let us honor the memory that the brave men who sacrificed so that we may experience freedom in a country that is free. Let us be reminded of life, liberty, justice, freedom and democracy – that we may forever be grateful to you and those veterans who gave so much for their country.”
VFW Post Commander Charles Kemp said, “On Dec. 7, 1941, the United States of America would be forever changed. It was a day of tragedy, sacrifice and heroism that united a nation. It was a day that will live in our hearts forever.”
Kemp noted more than 3,500 died or were wounded in the attack. A total of 21 ships were sunk or damaged and more than 340 aircraft were damaged or destroyed.
“We will never forget the events of that day… It was when America’s greatest generation was born,” Kemp said.
Maricopa VFW Senior Vice Commander Kirk Lane laid a ceremonial wreath at the base of the flagpole honoring those who died at Pearl Harbor.
At the flag-raising event, Maricopa author Linda Thompson debuted her new novel, “The Plum Blooms in Winter.” The book is a fictional account about several people involved in the American response to Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid in 1942.
The book is fictional but based on the true stories of people who were involved in the event.
Thompson’s Genesis Award-winning WWII fiction novel was released on Dec. 1 from Mountain Brook Ink. Thompson’s appearance at Maricopa’s Pearl Harbor memorial service was the first public book signing event for the publication.
“My book is inspired by a true story from the Doolittle Raid of 1942. Very shortly after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt felt that we were just battered. He came to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and said, ‘I don’t care what it takes – you need to bomb Tokyo.’ We were thousands of miles from Tokyo,” she said.
Thompson said the Joint Chiefs of Staff put together a “wildly out-of-box solution” which came to be known as the Doolittle Raid. She said the Navy was able to bring 16 medium B-25 bombers within 500 miles of the Japanese coast on a carrier.
“It had never been done before and was never attempted again. The raid met its objective and they succeeded in bombing Tokyo. The bad news is not one of those planes found their landing strip. My story follows two of the crews who were captured by the Japanese. The came to be known as Doolittle’s Lost Crews,” she said.
Her novel follows their story through 40 months imprisonment by the Japanese and after the war.
“Somewhere in the middle of their journey, they were given a Bible. It made a tremendous difference to the men who survived. One of them was so moved by what he read in the Bible that he felt like the Lord was calling him to come back to Japan after the war as a missionary – to show them what forgiveness looked like.”
“The Plum Blooms in Winter” is now available through Amazon and your local bookstore. Her second book, “The Mulberry Leaf Whispers,” is expected to be released in late 2019.
Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves – stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, “The Plum Blooms in Winter,” is an American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis award winner.