Pearl Harbor

by pastortimfowler

70 years ago today, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, drawing the USA into World War 2. For those who survived it, the memories are still crystal clear and the emotions can be triggered in a flash. Fewer and fewer of these people are alive today and there will soon be a day when the only people who remember it will be the ones who have heard about it through the stories passed down.
I had the privilege of serving in the Navy for 9 years and 4 of those were spent in Hawaii, stationed at Pearl Harbor. Every year there is a parade of the ships past the memorials of the sunken ships. The USS Arizona is the most popular of these and that ship has never been decommissioned due to the over 1000 sailors who make it their final resting place. There is a crew that raises and lowers the American flag every day, same as on any other ship. It is an amazing piece of American history.
This parade of ships is quite the spectacle. They dress out the ships with all of their flags and the crews line the rails in full dress uniform. As they pass by the Arizona, all hands come to attention and render a hand salute and a minute of silence passes before the whistle to return to parade rest. As you continue around Ford Island, which is in the middle of Pearl Harbor, you continue to pass by the other ships that were sunk on that day. After about an hour, the parade is finished and work goes about as normal. But the rest of the day is filled with talk of how special that parade was and the memories of all those who died that day.
Every year this event is marked as a national day of remembrance. It isn’t tangled in politics and it isn’t clouded with rumors of vast conspiracies. It doesn’t have dark clouds of race or ethnic hatred. Other than naming the country that attacked, it is simply a reminder of a day that will live in infamy. It is a day where most Americans reflect on the fragile state of this world and its ability to be a dangerous and violent place and the fact that when and if that ever happens, we have brave men and women in the Armed Forces, ready to defend us even before the first shot is fired.
Today, Pearl Harbor is a beautiful place where thousands of sailors and Marines serve and live. Each day, hundreds of tourists visit and see the Memorials and barely notice the ones who are serving daily, just like those who were serving there 70 years ago. They did not expect to have such an event, but when it happened they gave all. The same would be true for those who serve today, and many of them have been in battle due to the conflicts in the middle east. But none will be remembered like those who were there on Dec. 7, 1941.
If you see someone today who has served or is serving in the military, thank them for what they do. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago, talk to them and hear it from them and thank them. Every day the fine men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Reserves, Guards, and Coast Guard, are ready to defend and protect us from any threat the world can offer. God bless them, and God bless the United States of America!

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