The Sound and The Silence

By JoEllen Conger

After dark, Bob and I joined some others on the top of the hill behind the camp. The ships back at the beach were under attack by Kamikazes. The air was full of anti-aircraft fire, tracers laying a heavy crisscross lace above the water. Ships were exploding and burning at their moorings and planes were detonating in midair. We could easily hear the rumble of the explosions from where we were. It made me think of watching a fireworks show back at home, on the Fourth of July. But this time there were no oohs and aahs. Once in a while, I could hear someone say, “Jesus!” or “Damn, look at that!”

The battle went on for several hours. It occurred to me that back there were all our supplies. If the Japanese destroyed them, we would be in big trouble. Bob and I went back down to camp; we just didn’t want to watch the carnage any longer; our troops were dying down there. Later, other men sauntered down and said it was all over. They said they could see at least a half dozen of our ships burning