Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

December 4, 2012

Random Thoughts: Remember Pearl Harbor

CROSSVILLE — Long ago Samuel Johnson wrote, “Memory is the primary and fundamental power, without which there could be no other intellectual operation.”

Much later Nobel Prize-winning novelist Hermann Hesse gave his thoughts on humans and history. He said, “We are ourselves history and share the responsibility for world history and our position in it. But we gravely lack awareness of this responsibility.”

Many of these Random Thoughts columns combine history and memory. For a younger generation 9-11 will always be remembered. For an older generation 12-7-41 was a day embedded in our memory bank. In two days those 71-year-old memories of December 7 are still fresh and will be revisited.

It was an ordinary Sunday and I was a student nurse delivering lunch trays to patients. The radio was playing in one of the rooms and the owner said, “They just interrupted the program to report Pearl Harbor was bombed at 8:06 a.m.” Pearl Harbor? Neither of us knew what that meant or where Pearl Harbor was.

By day’s end we had an answer to some of those questions. Two waves of 353 Japanese fighters, bombers, torpedo planes had damaged all eight U.S. battleships and four had been sunk.  Much later we learned the toll of American dead was 2,402 and wounded 1,282. 

In this country December 7 was a day of shock filled with questions of what lay ahead. That Sunday evening I and my future husband attended church and the minister never mentioned the bombing!

On Monday we nurses gathered around the radio to hear President Roosevelt speak to Congress and declare war on Japan with the words, “a date which will live in infamy.”

WWII, unlike those wars of today, was everyone’s business. Remember Pearl Harbor was the battle cry at home and in battle fields around the world. Victory was declared in 1945.

In 1949 a discussion began on building a permanent memorial in Hawaii. In 1950 the Admiral of the Pacific Fleet attached a flagpole to the sunken Arizona’s main mast and the Stars and Stripes was hoisted and lowered daily.

All during the 1950s and early '60s, the search for funding a memorial continued. The government subsidized $200,000 but $500,000 had to come from private funding.

On Memorial Day, 1962, the USS Arizona was dedicated to the over 1000 souls resting below. It was 184 feet long with a peak at each end but a sag in the middle. The architect explained, “Wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory … the ultimate effect is serenity.”

The memorial was added to the National Register of Historic Places in October, 1966 and much later in May of 1989 it became a National Historic Landmark.   

It was a never- to- be- forgotten experience when I stood on that memorial in 1974. It was my one and only time in Hawaii because the National Federation of Press Women held their conference there. A boat carried us out to the memorial but as we arrived it started raining. The bad weather shortened our time on the memorial but I was able to look below where over a thousand souls are at rest. The ship was still leaking oil called the Arizona’s black tears.

But the most memorable moment was overhearing a grandfather who survived Pearl Harbor reliving that day of infamy for his grandson. My visit was short but always remembered. This Friday take a moment to “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014