The Forgotten Passages of Time


Annabelle Anchondo

WWII U.S. Navy cook Doris Miller’s picture becoming tarnished over the course of time.

Annabelle Anchondo, Editor

Death: an inevitable ending to anyone’s story, yet often forgotten or disregarded until the time approaches. Individuals go about the game of life, moving their pawns the amount of spaces designated by the dice, never more or less and never seeking what’s beyond the scope of what the dice has given them. It is the same routine until one lands on an unknown space, one where a card must be drawn to tell someone their fate, good or bad. That is when the fear of death is unlocked, and the thought of the unknown begins to accelerate ones breathing, their blood pumping faster and faster, and the adrenaline building up. This is what many believe the fear of death is. They don’t want to die. They are scared for what comes next, and even those who know what awaits them in the afterlife are left wishing time had been on their side to grant them more opportunities, more mornings to wake up to the smell of coffee and the sound of birds chirping, more holidays spent with family and friends, and more birthdays to celebrate. All anyone ever wants is more time, but the clock ticks away while individuals spend their days wasting away the time they have been given. They don’t achieve a sense of purpose in life. They don’t strive to make a mark that cannot be erased by the harshness of time or the stains of someone else’s story. People believe they fear death, but what they really fear is their inability to be remembered in the days they are absent, absent from a world that is filled with a billion of other people just like them, waiting out the game of life. 

That very fact is what some forget about. While everyone would like to be remembered, soon their name will become all but a faint memory in the oldest of souls. As years pass, people will forget the name of oneself, even if one has made extraordinary contributions to society during their lifetime. However, the importance held within those contributions will never be lessened. 

Doris Miller was a man who was born and raised on Texas soil and a man who gave his life for his country in November of 1943. Many would see the name of Miller and recognize him as any other soldier who had fought in the United States military. They would see him as someone who paid the ultimate price for the United States and its people. Perhaps, they would even see him as someone who gave them their freedom, but past that, he would join the thousands of others who have also made the ultimate sacrifice and given their life to the freedoms given within the Constitution. What many have forgotten is the incredible story and heroic actions displayed within Miller’s name. They forget his contributions to one of the largest events in American history, an event that rang out on the seventh of December in 1941: Pearl Harbor. Now many are familiar of the event of Pearl Harbor. In fact, a large number of individuals can agree that they have even watched the movie “Pearl Harbor,” and seen the part of the movie where the African American cook on the battleship USS West Virginia. During the movie, the African American cook first appears in a boxing ring with other soldiers who view him as just an African American cook. He fights and wins all of boxing matches, showing other soldiers that he is more than a cook and wants to be a soldier like them. Later, he can be seen holding his dying captain of the ship after it had been struck by Japanese bombers. After saying goodbye to his captain who had passed away, he runs to a machine gun where he heroically shoots down several Japanese planes. In the movie, this man is known as a hero, but what many have forgotten is the name of that man who exhibited those actions in real time during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His name was in fact Doris Miller. Even though he contributed such heroic actions that helped take down enemy planes in the event of an attack on the United States, his name and heroic behavior has been forgotten by almost all Americans. While these have been forgotten, however, the importance of his actions will never cease to be important to the other men and women of the United States who stood beside him in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Even though his name has been forgotten, his contributions to this country will never be unimportant. 

Another name that has been tarnished and stained with the progression of time is Johann Sabastian Bach. When people reflect on composers and people that have made impressive and large marks on the development of music, some names that may come up include Beethoven, Elvis Presley, and even Michael Jackson. However, the recognition of names of those who left a much larger fingerprint on music have slowly begun to disappear. In fact, there are many that would look at Bach’s name and ask, “Who is he, and why is he so important?” Bach is highly regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His contributions to the world of church and instrumental music are unmatched. Yet, hardly anyone recognizes and suggests his name when asked about music. However, he set up the foundation for all artists who came after him. His composition and ideas that he set forth into the music industry have been adopted year after year with each artist that comes along. His contributions are still very important to music despite the fact that he is not remembered by many. 

While there is a world filled with individuals, such as Miller and Bach, blessed with unique talents and skills that make them so known throughout countries and the globe, their names will all be forgotten at some point in time. People will forget their name and what they did. They will not know what to say when reminded of their name. However, it will never make an individual’s contributions of less importance. Every contribution lays the foundation for the next contribution to be made and the next name to be born. For that, death and the lack of one’s remembrance shall not be feared, but embraced. Embrace the principle that one’s own name will be entirely forgotten by the people of this world because what an individual does in their lifetime to contribute to this society will forever ring with the greatest importance.