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ITOW to host 'Pearl Harbor Poetry' event

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The ITOW Veterans Museum will be commemorating the lives of veterans through poetry in a special event called "Pearl Harbor Poetry" on Friday, Dec. 7.

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That day marks the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, making it uniquely suited as a day to remember veterans of all eras.

Everyone, veterans and non-veterans alike, is invited to share a piece of poetry that they've written by or about veterans' experiences.

Not a poet? Poems written by someone else may also be shared.

Selections from the collected poems will be compiled in a blog that everyone will be able to access online.

Perhaps more than any other event of the 20th century, Pearl Harbor signified a moment in time when the entire country became united in their concern for the brave men and women who served in the armed forces.

To kick things off, Lina Belar, the museum's executive director, shares the following poem by Walt McDonald, which she believes captures some of the feelings shared by many in the wake of Pearl Harbor:

The Winter They Bombed Pearl Harbor

All winter peacocks screamed, strutting the same

slow pose. At dawn, we smashed the ice with hammers,

dumped pots of boiling water steaming into troughs

for beaks of preening peacocks. They shoved each other off

like cousins bunched at the only mirror at church.

My logger father whittled a forest with buzz saws,

the roar and buzz of steel and mosquitoes

more than my ears were tuned for.

My sister and I played keep-away with feathers,

dazzling the surly turkeys and peacocks with footwork, lobbing frozen dirt clods like grenades,

until our father called us. When roads were frozen,

I jockeyed the throttle of a John Deere

rusted before the war, hauling logs and hay bales

to farmers miles away. The war was almost lost when my father enlisted, Pearl Harbor bombed,

the fall of Bataan all we heard for hours

on every station at night, except for our parents

talking softly after bedtime

and peacocks screaming in the dark.

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