When Pearl Harbor was bombed 70 years ago today, Dec. 7, 1941, my grandfather Thomas Hughes was a 17-year-old high school senior.

Within a couple of weeks he had joined the Marine Corps.  He spent the next four years traveling across the Pacific. Before he turned 21 he had been shot a couple of times, but managed to survive.

There were two men his squad who were 15 years old when they enlisted, he says. “They were 16 when we landed on Iwo (Jima) and both were killed. Pray to God we never have to send teenagers again.”

Here at the Advocate, we are constantly covering high schoolers — the dangers teenagers face, issues within schools and sports teams, and so on. Sometimes the school district budget, testing policies, team tryouts and standardized test scores can seem like the most important thing in the world.

Thanks to my grandpa for putting things in perspective today.