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Lessons from Pearl Harbor

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I love Admiral Nimitz's attitude. A positive outlook is a HUGE key to happiness and success. I hope you will be inspired by this wise man's words.

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 Nimitz.
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 made?"

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 ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one 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. 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 defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is: IN GOD WE TRUST.
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  • 1GROVES2
    I have never heard this before....even though my Dad was a WWII Army Veteran and my husband spent 8 years active duty in the US Navy. We had many friends stationed on the USS Nimitz. That is just an amazing story and I am so glad I wandered over to your once again :)
    Thanks for sharing this....makes me shiver!
    Hugs to you my friend,
    1988 days ago

    What an incredible man Nimitz must have been. It takes someone who is very special, I think, a true optimist to find the positive in such an horrible situation.

    If your President had chosen a Commander of the fleet who was more of the 'glass is half empty' mentality, or someone not willing to believe in divine intervention, I shudder to think what the eventual outcome of the war might have been.

    This is a truly wonderful and inspiring story Missy, and I thank you for sharing it.

    1992 days ago
  • SUSAN134
    This is a fascinating account of General Nimitz and also very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing Missy! emoticon
    1993 days ago
    Neat blog Missy.
    1996 days ago
    Wonderful blog!!!!
    1996 days ago
    Great post! And remember, Adminiral Nimitz was BLESSED and vindicated by being able to sign the Japanese SURRENDER document on the USS Missouri in 1945!

    And if we ever needed the Lord, we need Him now.
    1997 days ago
    If we can get that spirit back into our country's people, think what a glorious change that would be from today's climate of gloom and despair. -- Lou
    1997 days ago
    I certainly think Nimitz was very wise!!!

    God does have our back!!! We just need to look to Him!!!
    1997 days ago
    Awesome Blog and very true. Thanks.Hope you and yours are doing well. I know I haven't been by lately.

    1997 days ago
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