This morning Mmmm and I asked each other about the memories we have of December 7, 1941. I was not quite 11 years old and didn’t really understand all the ramifications of the attack. I just knew that my father had the radio on and was very interested in what was being broadcast and was very serious. I went outside in the evening and looked up at the star sprinkled sky and wondered if there were airplanes up there coming to drop bombs on us too.
Mmmm was in high school and he said that he remembers that the radio was on very loud and on all day to get the news. Eventually Mur’s husband, Chet, Dort’s husband, Claude, Dick and Mark were all in the service.
I used to have occasion to drive from Schofield Army Barracks to Pearl Harbor on a rather frequent basis. Each time I drove that route, I would think about December 7 and the raid on Pearl Harbor. I would imagine the planes flying in and the surprise attack. I have visited the Arizona Memorial a number of times. No matter how often I have gone I have been touched by the thought of those thousands of young men whose lives were cut short. I thought of the musicians on the Arizona that were allowed to sleep in because they had played late the night before. The attacking planes came in two waves; the first hit its target at 7:53 AM, the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over and there were 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships.
But I have also thought of the young Japanese men who left family and home in order to obey the orders from their superiors. I have always been interested in the number of Japanese visitors who come to see the Arizona Memorial. There were many Japanese visitors today at the 65th anniversary of the attack.
Memorials are always meant to warn the future generations as well as to remember the past. We see this at the Holocaust Museum. The saying there is “Never Again,” but each generation seems to have to learn the lessons of war and peace again and again. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if at this season when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, we would learn this lesson? There will probably never be peace between men but I love Romans 5:1 that promises real peace – “Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
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