Memory Days

Listen to Mustn’ts
By Shel Silverstein

Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.

Memory days come on holidays and birthdays and days that remind you to remember.

Memory days come on days like today.

71 years ago Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese navy. That day marked my country’s official engagement in the second world war.

My grandmother was barely 18 years of age that day. Hawaii was not yet a part of the United States. That would not happen until 1959, three years after my father was born. As a Japanese woman she was required to carry her birth certificate, including a current photo, with her at all times. I have no idea what she went through during the war. It was not something I ever discussed in depth with her. I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty that must have invaded as the bombs shattered her peaceful island life.

Just under 3 months shy of the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I was 18 and a freshman in college. Living away from home for the first time I enjoyed the freedom from the responsibilities of being the oldest child. On the morning of September 11, 2001 I walked into my 8 am class and was promptly told that classes had been cancelled because New York City had been attacked. I rushed back to my dorm room and called my family back in Virginia and then numbly watched as the towers fell.

I knew at the time that the world had shifted. Life would not be the same and we could never fully restore or rebuild the damage done, nor could we begin to understand the far reaching effects of that horrible day.

Unapologetic evil had exploded into my world as it had for my grandmother decades before.

In the years that have followed, my memory days become more meaningful. The more I learn about the world, the more I am grateful for the life that I have been privileged to lead.

I had an idyllic childhood that did not strip me of hope and faith. Life showed me instead how to find hope in the minute details and has taught me to use creativity and imagination to combat fear and despair.

Adulthood will do it’s best to hide those early lessons from me. Memory days always bring them back.

Today I remembered Hope and Love because they are worth fighting for.
Today I remembered Friendships and Fun because I’d be lost without both.
Today I remembered loved ones lost and those still here because they have made my way easier.
Today I remembered those who fight because they stand guard so I can walk free.
Today I remembered that I get to be me because of the sacrifices made on my behalf.

I am proud to be me. I can be more than I am. I can sacrifice for those who will follow.

How Many, How Much
By Shel Silverstein

How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ‘em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ‘em


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Marie Shiraki
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 10:45:22

    I feel so humbled and amazed at the ability that you have to express so well many of the thoughts that I have had. Thanks so much for sharing.


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