December 23. After holding on for two weeks the Marine garrison on Wake Island was overrun.

Someone once said that I live in the shadow of history. I guess it is true....I grew up playing on the old remains of the Via Aurelia, the road the Romans made into Liguria. Today, too, I am living in the shadow of history, grateful for having been born in the half century where I was.

December 23. After holding on for two weeks the Marine garrison on Wake Island was overrun. The landings against them begin at 0235. That day, it is soon over. It began on December 8th. The day after Pearl Harbor. The Japanese arrayed three light cruisers, eight destroyers, two heavy cruisers, two aircraft carriers, 2 patrol boats, two troop transports and 2,500 infantry against 399 members of the 1st Defense Battalion, 15th Marines, and 50 members of Marine Fighter Squadron 211 defending Wake Island. Navy Task Force 11 failed in an effort to relieve the defenders. Fifteen days later, the Marines surrendered. Taking the island from the Marines cost the Japanese 2 destroyers, all transports and patrol boats, 8 aircraft, and circa 650 lives. The Marines lost 49 killed, two MIA, and twelve aircraft. Marine Captain Henry Elrod, a VMF-211 pilot, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for shooting down two Japanese Zeros and sinking a Japanese destroyer. Additionally, 3 Navy and 70 civilians lost their lives. The military were sent to forced labor in China. The civilians were eventually massacred.

Be grateful for who, when, where we are.