On a quiet Sunday afternoon in Oahu, on December 7, 1941, while some people slept, some children played and Military men and women and man civilians thought about enjoying Sunday, the enemy quietly advanced. At 7:55 am a surprising air raid began as Imperial Japanese Navy fighter planes and bombers began their decent on the unsuspected raid over Oahu. Just offshore, berthed stem to stem were the USS Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Maryland, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and California along with several cruisers all along “Battleship Row”. At 8:06 a 1,760-poud armor piercing bomb hits the USS Arizona detonating an ammunition magazine an creating an explosion seen and heard miles away. The USS Arizona sank within minutes creating havoc and changing history forever. The skies turned black. By 9:55 the Pearl Harbor base was heavily damaged, and 4 battleships were sunk, some 33 naval aircraft were also destroyed. and World War 11 was about to begin.
900 men are entombed in the sunken hull of. The USS Arizona but 1,177 was the total loss. There were 37 sets of brothers on board and of those 37, 23 pairs of brothers died. Also, on board and who died were a father and his son.
Soon after it was declared that family members could not serve in the same unit.
We are here in Waikiki on a twice delayed vacation, the main thrust for us ,on our way over to join relatives in Maui, is to visit Pearl Harbor. I was born in 1940 so I don’t really remember firsthand what happened that day, but I do know that it changed lives forever. War began again; it would be World War 11. As I grew older, I became aware of many things; food rationing, food stamps, lights out, air-raid wardens,gasoline was rationed and in the states cars could not drive over 35 MPH in order to save gasoline that the troops needed. Also tires were difficult to buy which didn’t effect my family as we never owned a car. Sadly relatives and friends were going off to serve and the sad news of some never to return, I will always remember. I was young but the memories still linger on.
Today the world is different and maybe not for the better but that’s complicated to absorb and explain because it is varying for each of us.
Maybe the weather which is dull and dreary now seems too appropriate for the day we are about to begin. Several of us are awaiting a tour bus that will take us to Pearl Harbor. Everyone is quiet in their own thoughts. Pearl Harbor is a solemn, sacred, site for Americans, and the seriousness has begun to set in as we board and travel. We have an excellent tour guide who quite remarkably manages the morning traffic and speaks, almost non-stop, discussing what we will see today and also, he is a wealth of information on trivial facts along the way.
Upon arrival at Pearl Harbor, we are first introduced to the events with a film that was remarkably put together because of security cameras that were hidden throughout the island. The quiet in the theater is eerily noticeable except for an occasional sniffle. Noticeably too, many are wiping their eyes. How could we not be affected emotionally by this movie. The minute the Arizona explodes so do gasps and then again quiet as it continues to the end.
We file out and begin our journey to the USS Arizona, that sits quietly and dignified in the harbor. As we approach, I am filled with a sense of grief, even though I know no one who died that day. However, they were people, Americans who were serving to protect our Country. They were fathers, husbands, sons. A young man, later determined to be only 16. Horrific!
The USS Arizona Memorial sits all alone in quit waters. It is still leaking oil which is being called “Tears of Arizona”. As you walk the entire length of the structure you are able to view in the water several pieces of the sunken ship. Above the ship fish swim freely and sea life is reclaiming the rusting metal.
A total of 2,390 American service members and civilians were killed at Pearl Harbor due to the attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Of the 2,341 service
Of the 2,390 service members that died on Dec. 7, 1941, almost half died on the USS Arizona, a total of 1,177. There were 38 sets of brothers on board USS Arizona, including three sets of three brothers. Of those 79 people, 63 died because of the attack.
The second largest loss of life was on the USS Oklahoma, with 429 lost. From December 1941 through June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of those who perished on Oklahoma. Only 35 men were identified, and nearly 400 unidentified remains were buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, through a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, exhumed the unknown remains and began the lengthy identification process. So far, over 300 sailors and Marines from Oklahoma have been identified and returned home. Approximately 250 women lost their lives in the attack but we don’t hear too much about that.
At home, women rolled up their sleeves and set out to do the work that was required of
men to keep the Country going. Rosie the Riveter became their calling card.
As we leave Pearl Harbor and mull over what we have just learned it pains me to think about the casualness we accept what is going on in our Country today. From that day and beyond and to the present, men and women serve to keep our Country free. Yet I see apathy.
There is no recipe today.
Let’s Pray for Our Troops.
Let’s Pray for Our Country
God Bless America