Tag Archives: combat

Irony and cruelty: My father’s endless journey from Pearl Harbor

My father and Pearl Harbor have been inexorably linked through the irony of history, and the cruelty of coincidence. When America was attacked by Japan early on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Flight Lt. Christos George Halkias was a 21-year old fighter pilot making his way to North Africa by land after escaping a German prisoner of […]

Memorial Day: The loneliness of the funeral officer

In 430 B.C., after the first year of the Peloponnesian War – arguably history’s most devastating civil conflict, between Athens and Sparta – the Athenians gathered to bury their dead and hear a eulogy by the general and statesman Pericles. In what has been described as the paradigm for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, he uttered these […]

Dad and the last bus from Pearl Harbor

When I was 10, my father, a former World War II fighter pilot, took me to see the joint American-Japanese production of “Tora! Tora! Tora!” The 1970 film was a major spectacle, portraying the Pearl Harbor attack from both sides. Its Academy Award-winning special effects left me mesmerized. Death, destruction, and history-changing events didn’t make […]

Memorial Day in myth and memory.

Long ago, in another lifetime, I was a soldier. It’s a noble profession, but in many ways, thankless. That’s not a pejorative, either: mostly appreciated in dangerous times, the soldier often is forsaken during peace and prosperity. We come to expect this, so perhaps that’s how it should be. My college roommate, Dominic Rocco Baragona, would […]