I received this from a friend via email. Thought I'd share!
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
Sunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral
Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was
paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered
the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the
phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the
Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
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 everywhere 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
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
If they had destroyed our dry
docks, we would have had to tow everyone of those ships to America 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
America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
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 supply. 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 Fredricksburg, 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
"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac
"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."
~Harry S. Truman