December 7, 2006, - 9:45 am

On Pearl Harbor Day, 65 Years Later

By Debbie Schlussel
Sixty-five years ago today, we were fighting a more finite, defeatable enemy. On December 7, 1941, 2,388 U.S. military personnel were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 1,178 American servicemen were wounded. 12 ships were sunk or beached, 9 damaged. We lost 164 aircraft to total destruction, and 159 others were damaged.
Today, we are fighting the new version of those allied with the Japanese–the new Nazis. They are far more committed, far more dangerous. They don’t just bomb ships and planes and military. They torture and murder innocent civilians.
Do we have the resolve? It seems that our resolve is sinking along with the Pearl Harbor Memorial which is sinking into the ground beneath it and may need to be propped up? Who will prop the back-to-sleep America from its sinking beneath the Islamic fundamentalism on our own shores?

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Sadly, the “final reunion” of Pearl Harbor attack survivors was recently held. They are getting old and dying out. Will we remember well enough when they are all gone?
From The Chicago Tribune:

In the decades since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, countless survivors have made the long journey back to Hawaii every five years to remember comrades who were lost and to catch up with those who lived but later went their separate ways. They drink Scotch and tell war stories; they brag and weep. They often just sit together and say nothing at all.
But this year’s reunion holds an urgency that hasn’t been part of gatherings past: Most Pearl Harbor survivors, nearing their 90s or even older, say it will be their final trip back to this place that changed the course of their lives and their nation forever. Event organizers–many of them children of survivors who are ailing or already have died–pragmatically are calling this the “final reunion.” And survivors’ extended families, including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, are coming along to the reunion in unprecedented numbers to glimpse history firsthand through their loved one’s eyes before the opportunity is gone.
“This is their last swan song,” said Sue Marks, an event volunteer whose father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, died a decade ago. “They know that a lot of them either won’t be around in five years or won’t be able to make the long trip.”
On Thursday morning, some 1,500 survivors, friends and family members will gather with 2,000 other guests and dignitaries for the 65th anniversary commemoration at Kilo Pier on Naval Station Pearl Harbor, looking out at the USS Arizona Memorial a half-mile away.

I’m proud that my great-uncle, the late Maurice J. Schlussel, MD, was a high-ranking Army officer (and career Army man) and, became head of Veteran’s Services for the South Pacific under the Veteran’s Administration. Read more on the attack at the National Park Service’s page on the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. “Five Things About Pearl Harbor” in today’s Detroit Free Press. Another touching Pearl Harbor vet’s reunion story in the Honolulu Advertiser.
From my coverage of this, last year, don’t forget these words from the Memorial:

My brothers lie in state,
In clear waters
Of testimony, their willingness
To answer our Nation’s call.
An angel bends down, whispers in my ear,
Never forget. Never forget.
Honor them. They
Gave their lives for you.
No man hath a greater love.
Do them honor.
And never forget.

Never forget Pearl Harbor. And never forget that we are facing an enemy far more fierce, an enemy that is slowly defeating us.

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3 Responses

Bush should be there in Hawaii today. More Americans have been killed by illegal aliens than at Pearl Harbor. More Americans have been killed by illegal aliens than in Iraq. More than 911. The financial burder of the current latin invasion is more costly than any of those three events. Glad he wasn’t president in Dec.1941. Would have cowered in the white house saying “there’s too many of them, we could never win. Best to give them amnesty and guest worker status.” You don’t see it, you don’t get it, do you, bush?

jeebie on December 7, 2006 at 5:57 pm

I had the pleasure of accompanying my parents to the 50th anniversary of this sad occasion in Dec. 1991 as my father is a member of the 11th Bomb Group – the Air Corps bombers stationed at Hickam Field in 1941. Only two groups were allowed to attend the ceremonies presided over by Bush 41 – the 11th Bomb Group and the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
My lady friend and I took the mandatory tour of Pearl Harbor and Ford Island. As we entered the harbor, a Boomer (Nuclear Attack Sub) was on its way out – all the officers in their snappy dress uniforms standing on the conning tower at rigid attention. The tour boat driver stated over the intercom:
“Ladies and gentlemen, the United States Navy requests that you NOT take ANY photographs of submarines underway”.
Just as we passed the Boomer, in awe at its lethality and magnificence, A Jap tourist sitting next to us (which made my blood boil anyhow) stood up and started taking pictures. A young anglo woman (girl) who couldn’t have been a day over 18, jumped up, slapped the guy on the hand, and yelled, “HEY! No PICTURES!” The entire boat became totally silent. I looked at her and said, “Atta girl”. The offending tourist sheepishly sat down and put his camera away. It was just one of those all-too-few occasions these days when one can be proud of a younger generation.
Thanks for letting me share.
(personally, had I been POTUS in 1945, not ONE Japanese would have been allowed to live)
~(ƒ)~

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autotune the news on March 11, 2013 at 4:42 am

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