Dec 7, 2016

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I have some personal history that connects with this day, Dec 7, 1941. In fact, even my name does.

When I was about 7 my parents took us to Hawaii to meet our family there. I recall my Dad walking me out to a small wooden bridge which crossed the creek on the family property. Standing me up on the railing, he had me look down valley and through a lush tunnel of greenery I could see Pearl Harbor. As he held me up, he said “This is where I stood when I was about your age, and watched the bombing of Pearl Harbor.” Pulling me down, he pointed me at the mountainous hillside behind our big family house and said “That ridge there, that is where I saw the fighter planes first, as they flew in down the valley. I could see the pilots they were so close”

My Father later would join the US Army where he competed as a swimmer and boxer. In his military career he wound up doing Intelligence work. His job was to travel around Indo-China and photograph and do map making. That project helped supply the intelligence which the US used for it’s war in Vietnam later.

When my Dad got out of the Army he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin on the GI Bill, where he acquired a degree in Electrical Engineering, met my Mother and they soon had me, the eldest of what would become a family of six kids. They named me David Franklin Pu’u. The middle name, after the President.

My Father went on to have a career serving the Nation in National Defense arms development and the Space Program. He worked on most of our major projects, ranging from the first computer, and X Plane projects, all the way through our Nuclear delivery systems creation, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle programs. It only became apparent to me long after, just how great an impact the Japanese attack on our home really made on my Father. His entire life’s work became National Security.

It was not like my Father hated Japan either. I saw throughout my life that he actually loved everything about that Nation and it’s culture.

In spite of being a reasonably astute person, it did not hit me till decades after, when at the age of 42 I became a professional commercial Photographer and Cinematographer, just what it had meant when at the age of 12, at our home in Goleta California (when my Dad was working on the Space program at GM) that he handed me his Army issue Nikon camera kit and I learned the basics of photography by shooting the ocean and surfing on the beaches near our home.

Now nearly two decades after my eventual career transition into Photography and looking back at some of the amazing projects I have been able to work on, my over the shoulder view makes me recognize why I remain so deeply committed to both my heritage as a Hawaiian, and my obligations to my Art, Trade and Nation: it is all in my family history. We remained Americans. We did what we thought was right for our family and country. We served both in the best manner we could, with the abilities God had given us.

Here is a look back at today, seventy five years ago from the Daily Signal entitled “The Seventh of December”

A hui ho!

Self Portrait, Ventura California

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