December 7 is a date we could never forget. First, of course is Pearl Harbor Day. Even though neither of us was born then, we have visited Hawaii often, and have gone to the Arizona memorial numerous times.
Another reason we remember this date is that Larry’s father was born on this date. For years, we combined the celebration of his birthday with my mother’s, which was on December 14. We lost them both in 2011, and it still feels strange to go through December without that celebration.
Because of the Pearl Harbor attack, Dad was drafted, even though Larry was a baby. Fortunately, he served his time in the Navy at Mare Island near San Francisco. Because of his pride in his military service, we asked for the Navy to be present at his interment at Rose Hills Cemetery. We were so moved at the playing of “Taps” and the presentation of the flag to Larry.
We decided that it should go to Shaun, Murl’s only Collins grandson, and eventually to his son, Tyler, the only Collins great-grandson. We had it put into a case and gave it to Larry’s brother, Casey, to keep until it is passed on down the line.
The last time we went to the Arizona Memorial was on Veterans Day a few years ago. That was when we discovered that those who had served aboard the USS Arizona on that day and survived could have their ashes interred within the superstructure of the monument or have them scattered in the harbor. We also met four survivors of the December 7 attack. We loved talking to them and asking questions.
On that trip, the idea of including the interment of a survivor in one of our mysteries was born. However, it wasn’t until our return trip last month that the urgency of writing that story became apparent. The survivors are now in their late 80s and 90s. We lose more of them each year. So our new book, Murder With Honor, will feature a veteran who survived December 7th on the Arizona.
We’ve only written the first two chapters, but we hope to finish sometime next year. We hope it is a fitting tribute to those who survived on the ‘day which will live in infamy.’