Growing up in the small town of Chandler Ville, Illinois I never had many friends. That is until the summer of 1933 when I met James and Austin Muler, the Muler twins. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had just turned ten and I was reading a book while creaking back and forth in my grandmother’s old wooden rocking chair. In the distance I could see a Ford station wagon packed to the brim with boxes and two boys with their heads sticking out of the back windows. I thought to myself, these must be my new next door neighbors moving into the Jefferson’s old house. Even though I was bursting with excitement that I had the chance to make some friends, I decided to give them a day to settle into their new house. The next day I saw the two boys playing down by the creek, so I quickly laced up my shoes and ran over to them to see if I could join them. I introduced myself and they told me their names were James and Austin Muler and that they just moved here from Boston, Massachusetts. I then asked them what they were doing down here by the creek. They told me they were going to build a boat and go sailing and they asked me if I wanted to join them. Without any hesitation, I said yes and we began to build. When summer was finally over, my new friends and I were nearly finished with our boat, however our progress was slowed down because of the beginning of a new school year. I have always hated school, not because I have trouble with it, but because I was always bullied for having dorky glasses, so I assumed this year would be the same. On the first day of school, during recess, the bulling began. As the game of keep away the dork’s glasses began, James and Austin stepped in. Not only did they defend me, but they stood up for me and said if anyone wanted to pick on me, they would have to deal with them. For the first time ever, I had true friends who liked me for who I am and were willing to stand up for me. They were my heroes. Over the next few years we became very close, almost inseparable. Finally, after years of working on that boat, we finished it and we planned to set sail the next day. That night however, there was a huge storm. The next day, we woke up and found our boat smashed to pieces lying under an old oak tree that must have been toppled over from the high winds of the storm. I just stood there staring at the remains of all of our hard work. It made me want to cry, but I stopped myself after seeing James and Austin just shrug their shoulders as if they didn’t care. I thought to myself, the boat was the only thing holding our friendship together and with it gone, would this be the end of our friendship? Then I heard James say, “Let’s make a pact, no matter what, that one day we will go on an adventure sailing to see the world.” We all agreed and then I knew our friendship wasn’t over, in fact it was just beginning. Several years later after graduating from school in 1941, James, Austin, and I decided to join the United States Navy and finally go sailing to see the world. After being tested to see if we had the “right stuff”, we were all approved and were to be stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. For a few months we just went on a few voyages transporting supplies to nearby ally forces to aid them in their war. However, the twins and I didn’t really care because we were final out on the water fulfilling our pact. This was the life, smelling the salty aroma of the ocean, hearing the waves crash against the side of the enormous ship as it slices through the water like butter, and laughing with my two best friends as we looked toward the horizon and remembered the good old times we had back in Illinois. On December 7, 1941 disaster struck Pearl Harbor. It started out being a typical, calm Sunday morning with the birds chirping and the sun shining, but what happened next will be engraved in my mind forever. It was about eight in the morning and the twins and I were...
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