CHAPTER 1 of The Island Country
It was cold and had just started to rain. On the front lawn, Detective Philip Smith of the Nassau County Police Department, wearing the formal Navy uniform he’d worn during the War, directed his family’s attention through the leafless trees, to the top of the bank building several blocks away, on top of which an American flag waved against the gray sky.
He saluted, and his family did the same, his wife Eunice and three children, seven-year-old Philip Jr., five-year-old Joyce, and three-year-old Oscar.
“On this day, December seven, thirteen years ago,” he began, “our great country was attacked in cowardly fashion by the Empire of Japan, killing over two thousand American servicemen and causing extensive damage to our Pacific Fleet. To all Americans who lost their lives that day, we will never forget.”
From his breast pocket he removed his Hohner harmonica and played “Taps.” It started raining harder. After the harmonica fell silent, the detective said, “Inside, let’s go!” The children ran through the downpour towards the house, followed by their father.
Inside, removing his wet shoes, Oscar looked out the door window at his mother still on the lawn saluting.
“Daddy, why is Mommy still outside in the rain?”
Detective Smith looked outside, then back at his son. “She’s okay, pal. She’ll come inside in a minute.”
“Daddy, why did the Japanese attack us?” Joyce asked.
“Because some people are evil.”
“Then why do Japanese people live in America?”
“That’s a damn good question. We let them in, then they attack us. We had to build internment camps and lock them up during the War because we couldn’t trust them. I still don’t.”▪