Dec. 9, 2010
Memory of 1,177
As the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor approached on Dec. 7 and specifically the sinking of the USS Arizona, I was reminded of the inestimable loss our nation sustained.
As a former Navy Hospital Corpsman stationed aboard the USS New Jersey during the Vietnam War, our last U.S. port-of-call before assuming our duties on the gun line was Pearl Harbor. We docked directly across the harbor from the Arizona Memorial. For our stay of three days, I frequently viewed the memorial to the battleship servicemen and wondered if their fate was to be my own. It was not.
Although I am from another generation of battleship sailors, I appreciate what was sacrificed by the crew of the Arizona: they gave up everything so I could do anything. I will remain deeply appreciative. My gift to them is attached.
By Patrick C. Scheidel
1177 questions perpetually asked
1177 inquiries relentlessly carried
by ocean currents
returned to sender
1177 sounds like a lucky number
invoking shouts of success,
not horror, pain nor loss
no champagne bubbles here
only oily black tears surfacing
from submerged seamen
1177 are memorialized where
reverence hovers above
the sound of lapping waves
of dissipated enthusiasm
wailing for the lost souls
of Sunday violence when
morning became mourning
1177 confined memories of
an explosive fiery aftermath
haunted by unfulfilled dreams
and peaceful lives unlived
1177 smothered unanswered prayers
entombed at the bottom of the harbor
asking one question 1177 times:
“What kind of life would I have lived
had the USS Arizona been spared?”Patrick Scheidel, Williston
In Williston Central School, the eighth graders are required to do a project called the eighth grade challenge. For my challenge, I chose to try to improve on our community facilities. Some ideas I have are a dog park, a public tree house, a historical mural, a practice wall to hit tennis balls off of at our tennis courts and brightly colored decorative flags hanging around town.
As we know, we live in a historical town. Enhancing a public building with a lovely scene depicting Williston’s history will help keep it alive. Colorful decorative flags around our town would help raise community spirit as well.
Three things that could improve our recreational facilities are a tennis backdrop for the public courts, a public tree house or a dog park. A park for dogs to play off leash with one another would help our dogs and their people stay more healthy and social. A community tree house would be a place where one could sit and eat lunch outdoors, much like the tree house at Oak Ledge Park in Burlington.
I was thinking of how to learn community opinions when I thought, “What better way to get the peoples’ attention then to put an article in the Williston Observer?” My intention with this letter is to get people to voice their preferences among these ideas, so I can pursue the most popular ones. I have set up an Internet poll to help achieve this, so please visit the following link to fill out a very brief survey and select your favorites: http://FreeOnlineSurveys.com/rendersurvey.asp?sid=idknjz1j6d7cats844647
I will report the results of my survey back to the Observer, and meet with town officials and potential sponsors once I have the data. Please vote your opinion soon! Thank you.Arlo Cohen, Williston