I went looking for one. Just one.
I wanted to speak with someone who was in Farmingdale that day, the day of infamy 70 years ago when the Imperial Japanese Navy bombed the floating battlefields at Pearl Harbor disrupting the course of history forever.
I couldn’t find someone from around here who signed up right after the attack. Most of them are gone now. But I do know what I would have asked him - the very things that I will never forget about my lifetime's day of infamy.
I would ask about the morning, where he was when he found out about the attack, who told him and how, even what he was wearing. I would ask about the afternoon, who he knew who was directly affected, how the news spread, how it was covered. I would ask about the months that followed, the tone of the country, when and how he enlisted, how he said goodbye and how he stayed in touch with his family and friends.
The world woke up that day unknowing it would be profoundly changed forever. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, hitting eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer, killing 2,402 Americans and hurting 1,282 others.
The next day, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the “dastardly” surprise attack "a date which will live in infamy," they signed up to fight. They answered his call. I wanted to talk to one of them. Just one.
I was 13 years old on Sept. 11, chatting at my 4th period lunch table and sweating because I insisted on wearing a new sweater on that humid day. Two teachers urgently silenced the cafeteria because something cataclysmic had happened.
That was my generation's day of infamy. I remember that sweater and the argument I had with my mom over it. How mundane the morning was until we knew. I remember the glassy eyes and cracking voices of my teachers as they called certain students out of class. The afternoon of confusion and chaos.
And I remember the months of mourning afterward, the patriotic songs of comfort and the years that followed as my classmates from Farmingdale, Plainedge and Massapequa enrolled in ROTC and Reserve programs, called to service both consciously and subconsciously by the memories of that day. We masked worry with care packages and Facebook messages, as our friends and relatives fought - and some continue to fight - overseas.
That's what I wanted to ask them about - the morning, the afternoon and the months and years after. What they learned and what they could teach us.
Today, the in Farmingdale is hosting a Pearl Harbor memorial at 10:30 a.m., where vintage planes will depart from Republic Airport to drop roses over the Statue of Liberty.
I urge residents to attend the beautiful ceremony as a way to resurrect "the day of infamy" that is often forgotten.
We vividly remember how Sept. 11 profoundly changed our lives. Let's honor those who are no longer here by remembering the day that profoundly changed theirs.