Remembering Pearl Harbor: 69 Years

posted at 10:55 am on December 7, 2010 by Cassy Fiano

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

… Always will be remembered the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

… With confidence in our armed forces — with the unbounding determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.
— from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s December 8, 1941 speech to Congress.

Today marks the 69 year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack shocked the nation and catapulted the United States into World War II. It was, at the time, the worst attack on American soil. 1,178 were wounded. 2,043 were killed. The water itself burned and bodies of the injured and the dead piled up.

As more are more Pearl Harbor survivors and World War II veterans leave this Earth, it becomes more and more of a distant historical event that we no longer honor and no longer remember. Each year, Pearl Harbor gets a little closer to becoming one of those events that we will only know of thanks to a few pages in a history book. The vast majority of survivors are gone now, and when there are none left, who will keep their memory alive? Who will honor the sacrifices of the fallen? Where survivors once fought the Japanese, they’re now fighting time — fighting to keep the memory of their fallen brothers alive, fighting to ensure that we continue to remember and honor Pearl Harbor always.

This summer, my husband and I chose to go to Hawaii for his pre-deployment leave. One of our first stops was at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. We had the honor and privilege of meeting several survivors before riding out to the watery tomb of the 1177 American heroes killed that day. 33 survivors of the bombing of the Arizona chose to be interred with their shipmates.

We watched the black tears bubble to the surface, but the remains of the ship are less visible than ever. Standing before the solemn wall of names of those killed sobers you in a way we weren’t completely prepared for.

Seeing the names of these heroes was an emotional moment. Far more saddening was the behavior of the people at the memorial. The park ranger on the boat on the way to the remains of the Arizona laughed and joked about partying that weekend. When learning there were servicemembers aboard — my husband, a sailor, and an airman — she said nothing and continued laughing about her weekend party plans. Once we arrived at the memorial, I was appalled at the lack of respect shown. People ran around the memorial, laughing and joking. I couldn’t understand how anyone could treat the tombs of American heroes so callously. It was a warning sign, in my eyes, that too many have stopped seeing the attack on Pearl Harbor as the horrific day that it was, a day that deserves solemn remembrance and honor.

We can still make a choice, though. We can choose to remember the sacrifices of the men who fought valiantly and died with honor in service to their country.

We can remember men like Frank Flaherty. When it became known that the USS Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, Flaherty chose instead to remain at his post with a flashlight, illuminating the way so that the rest of the turret crew could escape. Flaherty perished with the ship and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

We can remember men like Doris Miller, Navy Cross recipient. On the bridge of the USS West Virginia, Miller refused to leave his mortally wounded captain, despite enemy bombing and strafing and heavy fire. At great risk to himself, he moved his captain to a safer place and then returned to the bridge where he continued to man and operate a machine gun until ordered to leave the bridge.

We can remember men like William Turner, awarded the Bronze Star. Stationed at the Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, he jumped into the rear cockpit of an airplane with a fellow Marine, Master Sergeant Peters. Both men used the rear machine guns to fire at attacking Japanese planes, and despite being wounded, managed to shoot down one of the enemy planes. Private Turner ultimately died of the wounds he received that day on December 12th.

We can choose to let their memory fade away. Or we can choose to honor their valour, their bravery, their sacrifice.

Remember Pearl Harbor. Remember the men who fought and died 69 years ago today.

They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation.
- Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

That was the most horrible scene you could ever think of. Shipmates there, you can’t save them.
- Ship Cook George Brown

When you go home, tell them of us and say for your tomorrows they gave their todays.
- John Maxwell Edmonds

Follow Cassy on Twitter and read more of her work at CassyFiano.com and Hard Corps Wife.

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Prayers for the repose of the souls of the dead, and prayers for the survivors. It’s sad that so few are left.

Ward Cleaver on December 7, 2010 at 10:58 AM

We can choose to let their memory fade away. Or we can choose to honor their valour, their bravery, their sacrifice.
Remember Pearl Harbor. Remember the men who fought and died 69 years ago today.

nice piece…thank you

cmsinaz on December 7, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Thank you Cassy for this post to remind us of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
To the very precious few remaing military still alive from the attack Dec.7,1941, God be with you and your families. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your service. Our family doesn’t have any living military members that served in WW11 left.
God bless all our wonderful military and their families.
L

letget on December 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Solemn Day.

rbj on December 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM

I’m still appalled at some people who think the US provoked Japan into attacking. FDRdidit!

Even worse are those who say that Japan was the innocent victim of the atomic bomb.

December 7, 1941 – the day when America started saving the world. That effort continues to this day.

KillerKane on December 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Thank you. Every year on this day I ask friends, coworkers, and others what day it is. Almost nobody knows. “Lest we forget” used to be the theme of memorializing Pearl Harbor Day. Now it’s just about lost.

Every American should make a trip to Hawaii just to stand in the middle of that Memorial and look at the names, then step against the side and look down at the Arizona’s stacks, where the drops of oil still float to the surface. No one could avoid being moved in that place.

Freelancer on December 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM

I’ve never been to the memorial, but recently I was talking to someone who had visited it in the last year. He remarked that he was amazed at the number of Japanese tourists he saw there. I found that very interesting. Has anyone else here visited the memorial, and seen the same thing?

Ward Cleaver on December 7, 2010 at 11:03 AM

It’s on History Channel right now!

On a happier note, today is also the anniversary of the Apollo 17 launch.

Tony737 on December 7, 2010 at 11:04 AM

I have been to the Arizona Memorial three times. My last time there, it was early morning, and the crowd was still pretty small. So, the ranger on board allowed me to stay longer than normal, and catch a later boat back to the Visitor’s Center.

When the sun is still low in the sky, you can (or could in 1997) see a lot more of the ship just a few feet below the surface. I remember looking down through an open hatch into the ship, and feeling as though I was looking into a man’s grave. Which, in reality, I was.

May we never forget.

tgharris on December 7, 2010 at 11:05 AM

I’m still appalled at some people who think the US provoked Japan into attacking.
_____________________

People only remember the bomb that ended the war. Read Flyboys or Flag of Our Fathers by James Bradley and you will see what we were fighting and WHY WE FOUGHT. Flyboys gave me nightmares. Amazing that any vetran of the pacific came back and was able to lead a productive life.

Rich on December 7, 2010 at 11:06 AM

We can remember my wife’s grandfather, Frank Coy. He was serving on the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor.

Sadly he was killed in an accident some years ago.

We do remember in my family.

catmman on December 7, 2010 at 11:09 AM

America knew how to fight wars then.

Here’s how we fight today:

More than 500 suspected Taliban fighters detained by U.S. forces have been released from custody at the urging of Afghan government officials, angering both American troops and some Afghans who oppose the policy on the grounds that many of those released return to the battlefield to kill NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians.

What would the men listed on that memorial think of catching then releasing our enemies who swore to fight us to the death?

They would think us unsane, without a doubt.

Rebar on December 7, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Thank you.
I had the privilege of attending the 50th anniversary ceremonies.There wwas no joking and laughing that day.

katy the mean old lady on December 7, 2010 at 11:09 AM

The park ranger on the boat on the way to the remains of the Arizona laughed and joked about partying that weekend. When learning there were servicemembers aboard — my husband, a sailor, and an airman — she said nothing and continued laughing about her weekend party plans.

If the National Park Service isn’t training its employees that they need to be solemn while on duty at the Arizona Memorial, they have a serious issue to address. If that ranger wants to yuk it up, have her go work at TGIF.

radjah shelduck on December 7, 2010 at 11:10 AM

The attack on Pearl Harbor has been in my memory because of my parents and grandparents. Dad and Mom were still in school, but vividly remembered hearing the news on the radio. When I was a kid we played “Army”. Someone always had to be the Germans, but no one ever wanted to be the “Japs.”

The surprise part of the attack, while their “Peace Envoys” were standing in Washington D.C. to present their plan made them the worst kind of enemy. Add to that, that they picked Sunday morning, the one day of the week where Sailors and Marines would not all be up and about.

There have been many books written about the warning signs that should have been seen prior to the attack. All I knew was that they had done the equivalent of shooting someone in the back.

I’m sorry for all those youngsters that died that day and for many days after, trapped inside sunken and capsized ships. I’m thankful for the resolve we had as a country to actually fight our enemies into unconditional surrenders. And to all those who survived, I thank you for your service to our country!

TugboatPhil on December 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Flyboys gave me nightmares. – Rich

Yeah man, that’s a tough read, especially the part about the Japanese using LIVE Chinese POWs for bayonet training! They tried NOT to hit them in the heart so that they’d live longer!

Tony737 on December 7, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Headline Comparison (Pearl Harbor vs. Modern Day)

Mervis Winter on December 7, 2010 at 11:17 AM

The Japanese have done a great PR job of making them look like the victim, because we used the two atomic bombs. Am the only one on this board that thinks that the Japanese have a few nukes ready to go, if they are provoked.

SC.Charlie on December 7, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Great post, Cassy, thank you.

I’ve never been to this Memorial and I look forward to visiting it someday. I have visited the WWII Memorial in DC 4-5 times and it is a solemn reminder of the cost of that conflict.

in 2009, I lost my grandmother, and earlier this year my great uncle who, along with their older brother, all served in WWII. None of them were at Pearl Harbor, however all served and were decorated for their service. One of the greatest possessions I have is the blue star flag with three stars on it that my great grandmother had in her window during WWII. I also have an invaluable book of newspaper clippings, photos and other mementos that my grandmother kept from her time serving as a WWII Navy nurse.

thank you for posting this, Cassy.

ted c on December 7, 2010 at 11:21 AM

My Mother knew one of the Doolittle Raiders who were captured. He was also one chosen to be executed.

SC.Charlie on December 7, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I keep Roosevelt’s speech on my MP3 player. As much as I dislike FDR for the other things he did to this country, that speech is a gripping reminder of what appeasement leads to and why evil must be confronted.

God bless every service member and those that have sacrificed for our great country. Thank you.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on December 7, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Ward, when I was there, there were several Japanese tour groups….the younger ones were totally rude and clueless…

cmsinaz on December 7, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Back when Democrats had balls

Ted Torgerson on December 7, 2010 at 11:30 AM

I’m not surprised by people who do not have the appropriate bearing and solemnity due for the memorial. If you don’t know, then you just don’t know and young children/adolescents simply just don’t know unless they’re taught. It’s a lesson that parents either teach them, or they learn the hard way….like memorializing someone they actually knew.

ted c on December 7, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Here is to Pop and all those Leathernecks in the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. Thanks Pop, and thank those other fellas up there with you too.

Limerick on December 7, 2010 at 11:36 AM

… the younger ones were totally rude and clueless – cmsinaz

I saw kids acting like that at the Holocaust Menorial in DC. Pathetic. MY kids won’t act like that.

Tony737 on December 7, 2010 at 11:37 AM

My grandfather was a survivor of the attack. He was stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, which was hit 7 minutes before the first wave reached Pearl Harbor.

He served another two decades in the Navy, then finally retired to a quiet home just west of Kaneohe, where he passed away in 2001.

DarkCurrent on December 7, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Pathetic indeed Tony

cmsinaz on December 7, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Thank you, Cassy.

ladyingray on December 7, 2010 at 11:43 AM

I was there 20 years ago and I remember people being very respectful and quiet.

I think the ranger you had was not very well trained. You should have complained.

I always remember Pearl Harbor day for one other reason. It is my youngest’s birthday. He is 16 today. I find it interesting that when he tells people his birthday, there are quite a few who still know what it is or will say, “Hmmm, that date seems familiar.” When he tells them it is Pearl Harbor Day they will say something like, “Oh yeah I knew it was important for some reason.”

Lily on December 7, 2010 at 11:43 AM

… the younger ones were totally rude and clueless – cmsinaz

I saw kids acting like that at the Holocaust Menorial in DC. Pathetic. MY kids won’t act like that.

Tony737 on December 7, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Have you ever been to The Alamo? That would never happen there. It is treated as the “tomb” that it is. Gentlemen are even required to remove their hats.

Perhaps they need to train our Park Rangers.

ladyingray on December 7, 2010 at 11:45 AM

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.”

-Isoroku Yamamoto

Christien on December 7, 2010 at 11:54 AM

A navy submarine guy told me this (apocryphal?) story several years ago:

A sailor was walking near Pearl Harbour when he was stopped by a Japanese tourist.

“Could you tell me where the Arizona Monument is located” asked the tourist.

“Right where your ancestors left it” was the reply.

WitchDoctor on December 7, 2010 at 11:55 AM

If I had been in either tour and they acted that way.You would have been able to see me arrested. After one warning from me, they would have gotten bitch slapped or had to swim back to shore or both.
The time I saw PVT Ryan in the theater, at the end with people filing out, there wasn’t a sound.

BruceB on December 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Every Naval Ship, when entering and leaving pearl Harbor renders honors to the USS Arizona, the only ship involved in the Pearl Harbor attack still in commission. I always considered it an honor and a privilege to do so. Thank you for stirring up some powerful memories. I’m so glad that there are still people out there who can appreciate the sacrifice made by “the Greatest Generation.”

May they ever have fair winds and following seas, and may the wind be always at their back.

CPO(SW), USN(Ret)

cpodug on December 7, 2010 at 12:14 PM

The radio personality Earl Nightingale was a survivor of the USS Arizona.

mixplix on December 7, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Flyboys gave me nightmares

For a look into the REALLY dark side of the Japanese mind, I suggest the late Iris Chang’s “Rape of Nanking“.

oldleprechaun on December 7, 2010 at 12:25 PM

I’m certain those brave men will receive their reward from their Lord: “Well done, faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Master”.

Rereading the complete dedication and commitment of Roosevelt’s speech, it’s easy to see the difference in the nation’s politics between then and now. Our enemies are just as vicious, and far more subtle, and rather than fighting them wholeheartedly we are struggling with our own citizens and the internal corruption of political correctness.

paul1149 on December 7, 2010 at 12:29 PM

oldleprechaun on December 7, 2010 at 12:25 PM

And for the other side I suggest ‘Embracing Defeat’.

Limerick on December 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Words to Taps

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
‘Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

That is all , Carry on.

ColdWarrior57 on December 7, 2010 at 12:31 PM

My grandfather was a survivor of the attack. He was stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, which was hit 7 minutes before the first wave reached Pearl Harbor.

He served another two decades in the Navy, then finally retired to a quiet home just west of Kaneohe, where he passed away in 2001.

DarkCurrent on December 7, 2010 at 11:41 AM

When my family lived near Kaneohe in the 1960s, when we went on the base we could still see the bullet holes in many of the buildings.

Ward Cleaver on December 7, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Yes, I was there 7 years ago-same thing.

BTW when I was a kid growing up in Hawai’i one weekend my brother and I visited a friend who lived on-base at Hickam, which is right next to Pearl. We took the Navy launch out to the Memorial on a Saturday afternoon, and we were the only ones on the boat! We then repeated the visit several times. Back then, it was all-Navy (no Park Rangers).

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2010 at 12:34 PM

When my family lived near Kaneohe in the 1960s, when we went on the base we could still see the bullet holes in many of the buildings.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I guess you were my grandfather’s neighbor for a while. He lived just west of town, on Kamehameha Highway.

I’ve lived in Hawaii for a couple of stretches. The first was in the late ’70s, in Pearl City. You could see the harbor and monument from our front door.

DarkCurrent on December 7, 2010 at 12:51 PM

A friend of mine was there, he was sixteen, his dad was an Army Air Corps captain. An explosion woke him up. Their house was strafed. Talking to him about that day is like talking to someone who was at Gettysburg or on the Grassy Knoll. It’s almost eerie.

Akzed on December 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

God Bless and keep our military families, always.

If you see a vet or someone who is active duty, go up and shake their hand and thank them for their service to our country.

OmahaConservative on December 7, 2010 at 1:13 PM

If I had been in either tour and they acted that way.You would have been able to see me arrested. After one warning from me, they would have gotten bitch slapped or had to swim back to shore or both.
The time I saw PVT Ryan in the theater, at the end with people filing out, there wasn’t a sound.

BruceB on December 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM

My boss and his wife visited the Memorial several years ago and they encountered a large, boisterous Japanese contingent as well. Ray was very indignant but you couldn’t get him to say sh!t if he had a mouthful. Bonnie on the other hand was violently indignant. Ray told me that she walked to the front of the Memorial and loudly, yet politely, asked those in attendance how it would be received if a crowd of Americans conducted themselves in a similar fashion at the Hiroshima Memorial.

I was stationed on Ford Island for several years. We used to take sack lunches down to sit on the shore and contemplate what that morning must have been like. I’m telling you – there are some things that age and experience never, ever temper.

oldfiveanddimer on December 7, 2010 at 1:13 PM

my great uncle was on a minesweeper that day outside of Pearl. He came into port the next day (or maybe a few days after?) to see a massive diesel oil slick. He said that the ships had been stocked with frozen Christmas turkeys which, after they sank, were floating in the oil slicks.

kelley in virginia on December 7, 2010 at 1:31 PM

i always thank a vet today.

kelley in virginia on December 7, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Today is Tuesday.

- Whoopi Goldberg

hadsil on December 7, 2010 at 1:34 PM

May God bless ALL who have served in our military and we thank you for your sacrifices for our freedom.

dthorny on December 7, 2010 at 1:36 PM

My dad was a radio operator in Guam. He died 14 years ago. My mom has dementia and my sister is a lib, so I’m the only one left who gets teary-eyed on this day.

My dad was SO PROUD of his service…
I have all of his medals and photos and notes and paperwork. It’s fascinating to go through those items and imagine him in a totally different light.

I have a small spiral bound book of his. Everyone from his (batallion? group? I’m sorry I don’t know the word.) is in it with a story about them but written by others. It includes their nicknames, call signs, inside jokes, etc.

The last page is dated August 10th, 1945. It says: “we hear a big bomb was dropped on Japan.”
I had to re-read the line several times. They’d heard a bomb was dropped but knew no more details. The shattered innocence from that period must have been shocking.

I have no kids. Do any of you know who might like his keepsakes, perhaps he has something of historical value? Or what the protocol is for the preservation of these items?

God Bless America and our service men and women, keep them from harm’s reach.

Yellowdog12 on December 7, 2010 at 1:40 PM

My boss and his wife visited the Memorial several years ago and they encountered a large, boisterous Japanese contingent as well. Ray was very indignant but you couldn’t get him to say sh!t if he had a mouthful. Bonnie on the other hand was violently indignant. Ray told me that she walked to the front of the Memorial and loudly, yet politely, asked those in attendance how it would be received if a crowd of Americans conducted themselves in a similar fashion at the Hiroshima Memorial.

oldfiveanddimer on December 7, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Shortly before I moved to Japan in the mid-80s, I took my new boss and his wife to the memorial. They were both Japanese, children during the war. They were very respectful.

DarkCurrent on December 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM

I have a small spiral bound book of his. Everyone from his (batallion? group? I’m sorry I don’t know the word.) is in it with a story about them but written by others. It includes their nicknames, call signs, inside jokes, etc.

Yellowdog12 on December 7, 2010 at 1:40 PM

My other grandfather who served in Europe as co-pilot of a B24 also left a spiral bound notebook with sketches and names of people he was in POW camp with. I think the book came from the Red Cross or similar organization.

I’ve found some stories relating to his aircraft and crew on this site.

Perhaps there is a similar group for the unit your father served with.

DarkCurrent on December 7, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Do any of you know who might like his keepsakes, perhaps he has something of historical value? – Ydog

How ’bout a museum?

Tony737 on December 7, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Contrast google and bing today: Re Pearl Harbor

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Do any of you know who might like his keepsakes, perhaps he has something of historical value?

Yellowdog12 on December 7, 2010 at 1:40 PM

I received an e-mail from someone referencing your comment who recommended the Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

http://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/

Cassy Fiano on December 7, 2010 at 2:30 PM

The park ranger on the boat on the way to the remains of the Arizona laughed and joked about partying that weekend. When learning there were servicemembers aboard — my husband, a sailor, and an airman — she said nothing and continued laughing about her weekend party plans.
If the National Park Service isn’t training its employees that they need to be solemn while on duty at the Arizona Memorial, they have a serious issue to address. If that ranger wants to yuk it up, have her go work at TGIF.

radjah shelduck on December 7, 2010 at 11:10 AM

The park rangers (a.k.a. interpreters?) should take a lesson from the guards we encountered at Lenin’s tomb in the summer of 1990.

We were told in advance that we must stand quietly as we waited in line to enter the tomb. When one teenaged boy in our group put his hands in his jeans’ pockets, a guard came over and actually pulled them back out, motioning to the boy to keep his hands at his sides. I suppose hands-in-pockets looked bored and disrespectful.

KyMouse on December 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM

who will keep their memory alive? Who will honor the sacrifices of the fallen?

There are many of us all over the US that fly World War II vintage airplanes in our spare time. Others of us donate our time as living historians or reenactors at events to commemorate them. We are the ones who will honor them after they are gone.

TulsAmerican on December 7, 2010 at 3:21 PM

We need to educate our young, because already they “know” more lies about how bad the US is than truths about how great our country is (due to the greatness of the individuals who fought to defend her).

disa on December 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Remember Pearl/Never Forget!!

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Today, the USS PEARL HARBOR is in port Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, commemorating Pearl Harbor Day…

Just thought y’all would want to know…

BRAVO ZULU!

/s/ Navy guy

Khun Joe on December 7, 2010 at 5:58 PM

I’m an Air Force veteran and I’ve always wanted to pay my respects at the Arizona memorial. I hope I get to some day, but the men entombed in that great ship will have my utmost respect in any case. I am ashamed to think an American could desecrate their noble sacrifice with such a lack of respect and memory. Truly sad.

nraendowment on December 7, 2010 at 6:23 PM

As a Navy veteran and a student of history, I’ve read extensively about the attack and finally went there several years ago. I will never forget the overwhelming feelings standing on the pier and looking across the harbor at “Battleship Row”. I have never believed in ghosts until that moment, but to this day I will swear to anyone who’ll listen that Pearl Harbor is a haunted place. The air is filled with the silent echoes of screaming engines and shellfire and the ring of klaxons sounding general quarters. And the silent tapping of the trapped men in the capsized wrecks, that went on for two weeks until they all slowly died.
Pearl Harbor may be the most significant single event in twentieth century American history, because it shaped our entire outlook on the world and changed us into a world power almost in spite of ourselves. Every American should go there and stand on that pier for just one time. You’ll never forget it.

Lew on December 7, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Have you ever been to The Alamo? That would never happen there. It is treated as the “tomb” that it is. Gentlemen are even required to remove their hats.

Perhaps they need to train our Park Rangers.

ladyingray on December 7, 2010 at 11:45 AM
Soldiers,gentlemen, Patriots remove their hats at The Alamo because it is The Shrine of TEXAS Liberty, at the student union at TEXAS A&M,where the most number of Medal of Honor holders pictures are on the wall.
We know what the cost of Freedom is and have the utmost respect for the Soldiers, Sailors,Airmen,Marines,Coast Guardsmen who keep us free.
There should be no less reverence at any memorial dedicated to our country’s fallen warriors.

Col.John Wm. Reed on December 7, 2010 at 8:10 PM

I received an e-mail from someone referencing your comment who recommended the Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.
There is no finer place to send your items and you will find no airhead guides at The Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg,Texas.

Col.John Wm. Reed on December 7, 2010 at 8:15 PM

If you wish for the future generations to understand the lead in to Pearl get a copy of the dvd of Frank Coperas “Why we Fight”.
Why We Fight #1: Prelude to War (1943)
52 min – Feb 28, 2006
Uploaded by The U. S. War Department
video.google.com
Frank Capra’s Why We Fight DVD
Frank Capra’s Why We Fight (DVD). Two DVD Disc Set! In December 1941, a …
http://www.ihffilm.com/francapwhywe.html

Col.John Wm. Reed on December 7, 2010 at 8:21 PM

When you visit Pearl Harbor, try to see if you can visit the USS Utah on the other side of Ford Island. You’ll need special permission and the escort of an ex-serviceman (since it’s still an active military base) but it is a war grave too, with a MOH member on board (Chief Watertender Peter Tomich)

http://www.ussutah.org/2006_saga_of_the_peter_tomich_medal.htm

ebrown2 on December 7, 2010 at 9:29 PM

Lew on December 7, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Amen, shipmate. I agree: Pearl Harbor is “haunted” — in a good way.

Funny, someone mentioned the Alamo above. Lew’s comments reminded me of the words to the song:

You can look in vain for crosses
And you’ll never see a one,
But sometimes between the setting
And the rising of the sun,
You can hear a ghostly bugle
As the men go marching by.
You can hear them as they answer
To that roll-call in the sky.

We who are alive can stop to remember — until the sea shall give up her dead and death itself be overthrown. Perhaps the ghostly klaxons of Pearl Harbor will fall silent then. But for now, it is well to listen for them and honor the men who answered them.

Thanks, Cassy.

J.E. Dyer on December 7, 2010 at 10:30 PM

My uncle was in the army and stationed at Pearl when the attack came. He was able to man an anti-aircraft gun and supposedly shot down three enemy planes. He survived this attack and before the war was over he had accumulated five purple hearts.

One of the funnier stories he told that happened during the attack concerned a brewery that operated in the attack zone. One of the stafing planes punctured some holes in the side of a very large tank containing beer. Streams sprang forth and it wasn’t long before our guys realized that was beer coming out of there. So they would wait till they thought it was safe, run out of their hiding places and hold their helmets under the streams to catch the beer, then run back to find some good cover.

The next day the tank was found to be empty and it had a line of bullet holes going down the side to make sure all the beer was properly drained.

shmendrick on December 7, 2010 at 10:38 PM

s’funny….virtually no mention of Pearl Harbor Day on San Diego news today….well, the LSM channels anyway…..

wonder why? hmmmmm…….

Vntnrse on December 8, 2010 at 1:02 AM

There is no mention, and there won’t ever be any mention in the MSM, because each generation of Americans quietly assumes that “we are the world” and everyone who came before us is just prologue for the main event; Us!

Lew on December 8, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Tony737 on December 7, 2010 at 2:12 PM
Cassy Fiano on December 7, 2010 at 2:30 PM
Col.John Wm. Reed on December 7, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Thank you all for the suggestion. I visited their website yesterday…in January 2011 they are forming a “Sons and Daughters of World War II Veterans” organization which I will proudly support.

I’m only a couple of hours from there and had no idea it existed. Thank you again.

Yellowdog12 on December 8, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Our family has what has been reported to be the only civilian flag known to have flown in Honolulu during the Peral Harbor attack. My great uncle, Larry Quinlin, was the manager of a hotel there. His father was a Civil War veteran and Uncle Larry was always fond of servicemen and tried to help them out when he could. He used to let navy bandsmen spend their saturdays in the hotel cocktail lounge, playing the hotel’s instruments and generally using the place as an informal lounge. When Uncle Larry had to open the lounge to his residents at 1700, it was time for the navy boys to leave. On 6 December, the boys were slower than ever to leave and he had to come back twice to ask them to go so he could open the lounge. On his third return, he was quite aggravated, but when he entered, the bandsmen immediately begain playing his favorite tune for him, so he just had to let them finish. After that, they thanked him and filed on out, everyone in a good humor. The next day, Uncle Larry raised the flag over the hotel at sunrise and, during the attack later that morning, the hotel was mistaken (possibly due to the flag) for a military installation and bombed ineffectively. A few days later, Uncle Larry found out that the bandsmen who had played for him had been killed. Uncle Larry died in the last year of the war, but he had passed on the flag and the story to my grandmother, with the promise that she would fly it only once every year on 7 December with prayers for those boys. She passed the flag and the promise on to my uncle, who before his death, passed them on to me. We have never failed to keep that promise. When the flag flew over my home yesterday, the blue of the star field was deep as midnight and the stripes as red as blood. Our promise will be kept until the end our line.

Whatever others may do in showing disrespect or disinterest, and regardless of how we may respond, the simple fact is that such sacrifices are never wasted as long as some of us are here to keep their memory sacred.

God bless our warriors.

Cricket624 on December 8, 2010 at 9:44 AM

The next day the tank was found to be empty and it had a line of bullet holes going down the side to make sure all the beer was properly drained.

shmendrick on December 7, 2010 at 10:38 PM

An amazing story – made even more so given how similar my Dad’s story is.

He was stationed in Manila aboard the sub tender USS Blackhawk when word came through that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl.

A cargo ship that had recently docked (full of stores for the serviceman) began to crisis offload it’s hold directly onto the beach to make room for whatever supplies command would have shipped to support the stricken shipyard on Oahu. A large component of the offload was a huge stash of canned beer and when the surprise attack came to Manila, an aerial bomb just happened to hit the cash of refreshment resulting in what Dad described as a three foot head on the Bay.

oldfiveanddimer on December 8, 2010 at 11:50 AM