Sixteen Days

On that infamous day in Fourty-One,
on the festive warm Island of Hawaii,
The skies became filled with Japanese fighters,
and the fight for survival became mighty.

Immediate chaos over took the shores,
leaving nobody safe from harm.
Shells exploding, people dying,
no time to sound a warning alarm.

Torpedoes cut through the ocean waves,
catching the US fleet totally unaware.
All those working on the lower decks,
began to pray their lives would be spared.

When the skies cleared of enemy aircraft,
the only thing left was smoke and flames.
Screams of agony swept through the air,
along with an anger that wouldn't be tamed.

Tending to the wounded became a numbing task,
rescues were of very few.
The Arizona and it's crew was swallowed,
just how many at the time, nobody knew.

The sentries began to watch over ship's row,
with the skies to oversee.
But soon it would be their ears and hearts,
where the real torture would prove to be.

What was originally thought to be loosened debris,
clanking against the 'Wee-Vee's' newly scarred side.
Suddenly they realized it was an S.O.S.,
being tapped out from deep inside.

For sixteen days and sixteen nights,
the calls for help were constantly sent.
While the sentries swallowed the lumps in their throats,
on Christmas Eve the last of the taps went silent.

Three had survived against the odds,
and the attempts of rescue had come to late.
Tears would pour from the eyes of their brothers,
knowing they were watching now from Heaven's gate.

(c) by: Lisa Hilbers

Dedicated in Memory to Clifford Olds, Ronald Endicott, Louis "Buddy" Costin and to the USS West Virginia "Wee-Vee"

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