It's the 70th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
What have we learned?
This year's anniversary is a big one. It has sneeks up on me, not recognizing that it's a major anniversary of Pearl Harbor...the 70th anniversary of the news of the bombing attack.
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So much has been written about that day, the attack, the aftermath, and our entry into World War II, that one wonders how much more there is to learn about the "Day that will in infamy", as FDR put it.
The ringing quote still sounds through the years, a touchstone for all generations. We know INSTANTLY, what the reference is whenever the quote is played.
And almost ten years ago, Jerry Bruckheimer made a big budget film (Pearl Harbor) that tied the troubles of five individuals to the sneak attack, but also tied it to the Doolittle Raid that came many, many months later.
For special effects, it's impressive. But for historical accuracy, Tora, Tora, Tora from the mid-70s seems a little bit more tasteful. (Side note: Being dissatisfied with the voice of the noted Japanese actor who played the commanding general for the attack, the noted cartoon voice actor Paul Frees, dubbed the voice. Every time I see the film, it snaps me out of the picture.)
But the point of this entry is supposed to be my visit(s) to pay my respects to the Arizona memorial.
I've been fortunate enough to visit the site not once, but twice, and both times, you get goosebumps. As a silent, respectful site, it is well-maintained by the national park service and the U.S. Navy.
The visitor's center has been rebuilt and is new and modern, featuring all the latest audio-visual techniques for telling the story FROM BOTH SIDES of how our nation was thrust into the conflict.
But I recall one veteran who sits every day at the memorial, answering questions about the attack, his role, and putting a personal face on the history. He's written a book about it, and sells it from his folding table. When last I was there, his niece was manning the table because he was in the hospital. But it brings up the point that we are about to loose the last of the generation that suffered the sneak attack.
I hope we don't forget it.