I’ll never forget our visit to Pearl Harbor. That visit was memorable in every way, not only because it was our first trip to Hawaii. Of course, we would go at least once a year if we could get US taxpayers to pay for it like certain families, but that’s another story. Still, one aspect of that visit to Pearl Harbor stands out even today, years later. I was unprepared by how moved I would be standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Arizona. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what happened there. You know how thoroughly disgusted I am when I hear morons, usually under 25 years old, say “Oh I’ve never heard of that. I wasn’t born yet.” My standard response is “I wasn’t born in 1863, and I’ve heard of Gettysburg.” If I get a blank stare, I tell the ignoramus to stop playing Angry Birds and use his mobile device to look it up. It starts with a “G.”
It was on that trip that I realized the difference between knowing a fact and experiencing a fact. I was unprepared for being smacked with the reality of the 1177 American casualties, nearly half on the Arizona, who were lying below in watery graves. Of course, you, a subscriber to this newsletter, and therefore at least 2 standard deviations above the mean on the information and intelligence scale, know about Pearl Harbor, but if you show this piece to one of those afore-mentioned wet-behind-the-ears, low-information types, I’ll save that lucky recipient a few clicks. This is the U.S.S. Arizona during the attack, which happened 71 years ago today.
Today, as we recall the sacrifices made by previous generations that allow us to live in freedom for a little longer, sacrifices so enormous that they nearly defy description, I will have members of our military in prayers as I do every day. I will say an extra prayer for the heroes lost on that horrible day.
Check out this amazing first hand report of the Pearl Harbor attack written in December, 1941, but published for the first time yesterday. Elizabeth McIntosh, the reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin who wrote the piece, was told by her editor that her piece was too graphic. It is beautifully written, and there is a very cool photo of her interviewing a sailor back in the day. Now, 97 years old, she must marvel at how our country has changed during her lifetime.