08 December 2007

Remember Pearl Harbor

On this day, 66 years ago, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on our nation at Pearl Harbor. The Empire of Japan, alongside the Nazis, sought to destroy civilization and reshape it to ways that they saw fit. Their entire culture viewed anyone who did not believe in their fascist reality as a lowly form of animal to be slaughtered. The Axis were well-industrialized, had massive amounts of military assets at their disposal, and had an extremely demented view of what society should become. They seemed unstoppable as they plowed their way through Europe and the Pacific. America at the time was in a massive depression and held memories of the brutality of the First World War. But they chose to not submit to these psychotic aggressors after Pearl Harbor. Everyday Americans stood tall and did their part. They joined our Armed Forces, they worked in the factories, they fought on the land, seas, and shores. My Grandfather used to tell me stories of fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. His lost comrades, received wounds both psychological and physical, but he maintained his steadfast perseverance. Men like him stood in the face of tyranny and beat it back. Now those Axis powers are some of our greatest allies, and they have come to understand the errors of their ways. It's no wonder that those Americans are known as the "Greatest Generation".

As our WWII vets are in their twilight years, it is now more important than ever to honor their sacrifice. I, myself, was a Pearl Harbor sailor not long ago, and I used to drive by the USS Arizona Memorial frequently. It's a very solemn reminder of the price America has paid to ensure that the concept envisioned by our forefathers has been upheld. But, frankly, I am a little concerned that people my age are not properly honoring the sacrifices of what Americans accomplished many decades ago. I went to the USS Arizona memorial when my family was in town visiting in 2004, and I was a little disappointed in a group of young students that were visiting the memorial along with me. They were goofing around, making jokes, talking during the moment of silence, and all around showing little respect for those (not much older than them at the time) that had perished in that very spot just off Ford Island. I recall being very indignant about this. But, I too, almost forgot that it was Pearl Harbor today (a thank-you is in order to this Black Five post that reminded me). We get so caught up in the present that we forget about the enormous sacrifices made in the past which allows our current world to exist. If we had lost to the Axis alliance, I cannot imagine what life would be like, but I'm sure it would be completely unbearable and rife with atrocity. So take the time to say thanks to a WWII veteran for all that you have, and never forget.
A small portion of those who gave all on Dec 7, 1941 at the USS Arizona Memorial

The infamous oil leak that still comes to the surface from the entombed ship.