Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

Hawaii: The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is "ground zero" where World War II began for the United States. Following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto stated: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant..."

The USS Arizona War Memorial serves as the final resting place for many of the battleship's 1,177 crew member’s who lost their lives on that fateful Sunday morning on December 7, 1941.

The addition of the Battleship Missouri and the 1999 opening of the USS Missouri Memorial has further enhanced the importance of this historic area. It was upon the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay where the Japanese surrendered to United States General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz, ending World War II, the bloodiest war the world had ever seen.

During our visit in April 2008 one definitely gets that haunting feeling you are on hallowed ground. At the far end of the memorial is a marble wall that bears the

names of all those killed on the USS Arizona, protected behind velvet ropes.

Viewing the wall of names can be an emotionally intense experience. One can still see oil seeping from the wreck to the surface. These “black tears” are called "the tears of the Arizona."

Definitely a must see... once in everyone’s lifetime. The following poem from a fallen soldier speaks eloquently about remembrance...

"If you are able, save them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind."

Major Micheal Davis O'Donnell
Date of Loss: 24 March 1970