Her voice could not hide a tremble.
Sharon Taylor was on the phone, asking if I knew of any local observances to mark Friday's 77th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor.
Taylor is the widow of Alvis "Al" Taylor, who was one of the last-known Quad-City survivors of Pearl Harbor until his death in January of last year. At the end of the year, the last known survivor, Eldon Baxter, also died.
Maybe it was the men's presence at annual ceremonies that kept the community coming back. Maybe the deaths of Taylor and Baxter are the reason nothing is planned this year.
"I called the VFWs, the American Legions," Sharon said. "I haven't got any calls back about any observances at all. I'm must trying to find one, so I can go to it."
I promised to make some calls and get back to her. Surely there would be something planned at the Rock Island Arsenal.
"There is no Pearl Harbor remembrance of any kind this year," said Eric Cramer, spokesman for the Garrison at the arsenal. "It was usually done at the cemetery by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association."
Jack T. Smith, a longtime member of the Survivors group, said they used to lay a wreath and have a little program at the arsenal on Dec. 7, but it's been a half-dozen years since they've done so. In the intervening years, the Milan American Legion Post 569 organized observances.
Sadly, it is not a surprise to hear the Milan group no longer makes plans for Pearl Harbor day. In a 2016 story about the event, the adjutant at Post 569 pointed out only 18 people attended.
I did not look forward to calling Sharon back.
"It's Pearl Harbor remembrance day, and nobody remembers?" she asked. "I don't know what I'll do."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the day the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as "a day which will live in infamy." But infamy is ill fame. It is not necessarily eternal fame.
Of course, many of us remember Pearl Harbor every Dec. 7, and we always will. Jack T. Smith will always remember. His uncle (and my great uncle), Mike Giovenazzo, is entombed in the U.S.S. Arizona. He was on duty that Sunday morning, and he went down with the ship.
Uncle Mike was one of nearly 2,400 military personnel who perished at "The Pearl." The attack that brought the U.S. into World War II was every bit as much a shock to Americans of 1941 as Sept. 11 was a shock to Americans of 2001.
Both events claimed several thousand American lives and took us into war. But one happened 77 years ago and the other just 17 years ago. The 60-year gap is wide.
"One day to remember them isn't asking too much," Smith said. "Maybe December weather is too hard on the older group? Maybe a summer get-together to remember would be better?"
To find out, Smith is asking that anyone interested in "re-invigorating" an observance of The Pearl give him a call. His phone number is 309-236-4163.
"We said we'd never forget," Sharon said. "Here we are, forgetting Pearl Harbor."
That's overstating it, fortunately. I remember. Everyone in my family remembers. The children of Al Taylor and Eldon Baxter remember. Grandchildren and great nieces and nephews remember.
Maybe that's the new normal. Maybe we now are meant to remember quietly or in phone calls and hugs with our families
But that doesn't feel like enough — not today.