Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quote Of The Day: Passing Heroically Into The Night Edition

"I suspect not many people have thought about this, but we're witnessing history. We are seeing the passing of a generation."
-- Daniel Martinez, USS Arizona Historian

They will gather again today, they say for the last time because "We're like the Dodo bird. We're almost extinct," to honor the 2,390 comrades who fell early in the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, 65 years ago today.

Some Pearl Harbor survivors say they'll be back to honor the 70th anniversary of the day that will live in infamy, but most agree that Dec. 7, 2006 is much like a gathering in 1938, the last time surviving Civil War veterans assembled at Gettysburg to honor the fallen boys in blue and grey.

The previous Pearl Harbor reunion was less than a month after the Islamofascists flew our planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Those memories are still strong among the survivors:

The survivors say they have more than horrific memories to offer. "Remember Pearl Harbor" is just the first half of the association's motto; the rest is "Keep America alert."

Martinez said many Pearl Harbor survivors were disheartened by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "as if they had not done their job hard enough."

Once again, it seemed that America had been caught sleeping. Interest in Pearl Harbor and its aging survivors surged. The old soldiers are much in demand — to sign autographs, walk in parades, speak to classrooms and pose for pictures. Visits to the USS Arizona Memorial are at record levels.

Not that everyone sees similarities between the two attacks. "There is no comparison," Hyland said. "That was terrorists killing a pile of civilians. Here, you had professional fighters versus professional fighters. Two different things." (AP)

And two very different wars.

My father was in his third year at Annapolis when the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. He was quickly graduated, and at barely 20 was XO on the SS Trutta, a sub in the Pacific. He was from a poor town in Mississippi, but no one said anything about he and his compatriots fighting because they hadn't studied hard enough to get a real job, a good job.

They had the good job, the job people would lie and cheat to get. So they could be in a steel tube under the Pacific with depth charges exploding around them. Or so they could slog across the Italian Alps, like my father in law, never knowing which outcropping above was hiding Axis sharpshooters.

The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader weren't questioning the war back then. They weren't demanding that the troops be brought home before the job was done. They supported the troops until Hitler was dead and his army in ruins, until Japan was crushed, its emporer no longer a God, its empire a fleeting whiff of acrid smoke, its people ready for peace.

That is the effort we need now, and the best honor we can bestow on the aging heros at Pearl Harbor today is to commit to fight as hard and nobly as they did, until the job is done, and America is secure.

See also: Our Pearl Harbor, by Victor Davis Hanson and by Pearl Harbor, by Neal Boortz

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