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A Pearl Harbor hero

POSTED December 08, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                                        A Pearl Harbor hero

            THOMASTON – His name graces a Thomaston Little League field, his courage graces our country still today.

            The impact of Pearl Harbor escaped no one. Not those who were there, not those in California or Kansas or Kalamazoo and certainly not those 5,000 miles away in little old Thomaston, Conn., USA.

            The `day which will live in infamy’ touched all Americans and was a seminal event in the history of the United States as it drew our country in World War II. People knew exactly where they were when they heard, age not a deterrent to the idea that lives had changed forever.

            Every generation is stamped by a handful of events it encounters. So it was with this generation who would forever remember that moment in time, who they were with and what they were doing when the news of that Sunday’s tragedy reached their ears and minds.

             Tom Reeves has always brought Pearl Harbor home to Thomaston. He died there but he grew up here, in our area. There is a personal connection here, a touch of Thomaston strewn about the fire, oil, wreckage of a hulking fleet of ships surrounded by a land of palm trees, crystal blue water.

            His story is well known or at least it should be around here. He was on the USS California and stayed on board as the ship sunk helping with ammunition and whatever else needed to be done eventually being overcome by smoke and dying on board.

            Reeves’ story is well documented in a very cool showcase in the Thomaston town hall that includes the contents of his pockets, the ensuing letters sent home to notify his family and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

            The Congressional Medal of Honor. Think about that and think about him. The folks in the Clocktown named a Little League field after him. He gave a life for us. I don’t know what he was thinking that day. We will never know. As the last breaths came what was going through his mind? Probably the fate of his shipmates. Heroes don’t think about themselves.

            We will never know about Tom Reeves final thoughts. But we will always know what Tom Reeves did. On Dec. 7, 1941 – 71 years ago, a Thomaston guy who played on some of the fields we do today, who walked the same familiar streets we do today, died for his country in a faraway land.

            Take a moment and think about that today. Remind you families and float out a thank-you. To all who went down with their ships and remain in those ideal blue clear waters there today. To all who didn’t get to see Dec. 8.

            Heroes. The years pass, courage is forever. Tom Reeves is forever. We need to remember that.

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