Updated: Why Keep Remembering Pearl Harbor?

by lewwaters

pearl-harbor-uss-virginiaTo a lot of younger people today, the sudden attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is just a note in history. A note that I am sure many think has no relevance on their lives today.

They couldn’t be more wrong. With the attack launching us onto World War Two and the all out effort to defeat the Axis powers, not only was our own freedoms preserved, but former enemies that we defeated came to enjoy freedoms and became our partners.

There have been efforts since the attack at controversy. Claims of advance knowledge of it coming, allowing it to happen, even that then President Roosevelt provoked Japan into attacking us (sound familiar, Ron Paulies?)

I doubt much of that mattered that peaceful Sunday morning to the men and women that were abruptly thrust into war by the surprise attack, though.

Ships moored in the harbor, soldiers and sailors eating breakfast or sleeping in if on leave, some even readying for Church, all were subjected to bombs and strafing that subsequently claimed the deaths of over 2,400 people and wounded another 1178.

Several ships were lost or heavily damaged along with numerous aircraft.

The attack set in motion perhaps the greatest recovery effort seen in the history of the world as what could be refloated and salvaged was, many to reenter the battles that ultimately defeated the Japanese Forces.

It was by the sheer spirit and determination of those that endured the attack and those that came after them that peace was restored and freedom prevailed.

We have been fortunate to have not suffered another such attack on our soil until September 11, 2001.

Very few of those people that survived the attack that day remain alive, most passing away over the years after they left the Armed Forces, raised their families and passed the baton of defending freedom on to us.

Sadly, many stories went to their graves with them, some not wanting to remember the “date that will live in infamy,” others just wanting to live their lives.

But not all. At the 70th Commemoration I was fortunate enough to video tape some of the comments of aging Veterans to preserve for all time and to give younger generations a small idea of what their freedoms cost other people.

We now prepare to commemorate the 73rd year since the attack as we have most every year since, the 2013 commemoration having to be canceled due to severe weather.

Pearl Harbor Flyer 2014 Front

Unlike previous years it will not be held at the Inn at the Quay, but will be held this time at the Vancouver Veterans Administration Campus Gymnasium Building located at 1601 E. Fourth Plain Blvd in Vancouver at 9:30 AM, Sunday Dec. 7, 2014.

Pearl Harbor Flyer 2014

All are welcome to attend and give our respects to the few remaining with us.

I can attest to the fear felt when coming under attack, even most of the attacks I experienced in Vietnam were more of a harassment type and not a sustained attack like Pearl Harbor. Then too, I knew I was in a combat zone and subject to attack.

I can only imagine the fear and terror felt by those men so long ago was much worse.

We should never allow their memory to fade away. They paid a high price for us to be born into a free society.

Email received from Penny Ross, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient Navy Cpt. Donald Ross (the first recipient of WWII)

The proclamation was read tonight by Councilor Scott Ramsay whose grandfather served on the USS Lexington during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Navy Lieutenant Commander Harvey Waldron and I accepted the proclamation tonight on behalf of all Pearl Harbor Veterans and especially the 2 Survivors who call Bend home and are named in the proclamation: Harvey Waldron/Bend and Dick Higgins/Bend

I presented a very short summary of their immediate post Dec. 7, 1941 attack actions and the actions of the 3 other PH Survivors from Central Oregon:

Jack Murry/Madras

Jack Marsicano/Prineville

Chuck Sellentin/La Pine

I have invited all 5 including families to be honored at Jakes Diner in Bend at 8:30 am, Sunday, Dec. 7. Councilor Ramsay will present 2 Bend proclamations and I will present Gov. Kitzhaber’s proclamation (attached) to all 5 Survivors and any others. Keegan Hodges, American Legion 2nd Vice Commander Department of Oregon will present certificates to all Pearl Harbor Survivors. I will introduce the PH Survivors and tell you what they did on another Sunday morning, exactly 73 years ago. You will be amazed!

Bend, Oregon Proclamation Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 2014

Gov. Kitzhaber Pearl Harbor Proclamation 2014

One Comment to “Updated: Why Keep Remembering Pearl Harbor?”

  1. Thank you Lew, for posting this, and to Penny Ross who has faithfully reminded us of what these men went through so many years ago, year after year. And thank you to all those whose service in WWII ensured our freedoms and made possible a one of the most prosperous time in human history due to the freedoms we still attempt to share.

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