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tamquij
December 10th, 2010, 05:11 PM
Many of us are far too young to recall this particular weekin history.
Iíve heard stories from relatives how this affected them, the event as horrific as 9/11, and forever emblazoned in their minds. Shock, awe, and a call to arms followed todayís historic event, where young men and women lined up in droves to protect our country and our freedom. My grandfather (God rest his soul) and his brothers were the first to stand in line, each enlisting for various branches of the service and intent on doing all they could for their country.
I recall when 9/11 occurred, and how the young men at the local high school set off to recruitment offices to do the same heroic feat that makes the United States (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.8833333333,-77.0166666667&spn=10.0,10.0&q=38.8833333333,-77.0166666667 (United%20States)&t=h) the brave country that it is today. My son joined, all because of those events, just as his great-grandfather had in his time.
69 years ago the world changed forever. It was barely 7:55 a.m. Hawaiian time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii-Aleutian_Time_Zone) when a Japanese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American) dive bomber shot from the clouds above the scenic South Pacific (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=0.0,-160.0&spn=0.1,0.1&q=0.0,-160.0 (Pacific%20Ocean)&t=h) island of Oahu (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=21.4666666667,-157.983333333&spn=0.1,0.1&q=21.4666666667,-157.983333333 (Oahu)&t=h). Alarms werenít raised, since the base at Pearl Harbor (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=21.3438888889,-157.975&spn=0.01,0.01&q=21.3438888889,-157.975 (Pearl%20Harbor)&t=h) was expecting the delivery of the latest B-17, which are the beauties of the sky. This single plane, emblazoned with the tell-tale symbol of the rising sun, and was followed by a literal swarm of over 300 warplanes. Like great attacking bees, the Japanese ferociously assaulted the sleeping U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack was a surprise and struck a painful blow to the U.S. fleet in the Pacific, and drew us into World War II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II).
The American fleet was decimated. Five battleships, seven other ships, three destroyers, and hundreds of aircraft were destroyed. Over 2,000 Americans were killed and more than a 1,000 people were wounded. Despite these horrific numbers, the attack could have been worse, but the Pacific fleet carriers that normally filled the bay had left early for training maneuvers.
Nearly 20 years ago, I took the journey to Hawaii (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=21.3113888889,-157.796388889&spn=3.0,3.0&q=21.3113888889,-157.796388889 (Hawaii)&t=h). Leaving the desert Southwest, I was blinded by the varying hues of green vegetation. Palm trees sway in the gentle breeze that wafts over the ocean. The white sand was soft beneath my toes. The ocean is a blue that is indescribable, glorious and breathtaking. I took the tour to Pearl Harbor, intent on seeing the remains of the U.S.S. Arizona that remains in the famous harbor. Nearly 1,200 sailors and marines died on that battleship, trapped in the twisted metal. Their bodies remain there, a silent memorial to their valiant actions on that fateful day.
The U.S.S. Arizona isnít in deep water, as many would believe. From the memorial building that floats over the ruins, I could step off and nearly touch the top deck of this glorious ship. The thought that so many young men remained behind, and so many of our heroes of that era request to return to the burial-place of their brothers, still bring tears to my eyes.
Yes, this is a date that will remain in infamy, and a reminder of the heroes that we have among us or have lost. Take the time today to thank a service member for their dedication, or visit your local VA hospital (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Health_Administration). Even better, if you can, volunteer a few hours of your free time every month to your local military hospital.
It is the least we can do, to thank these wonderfully brave Americans that have kept our country free.