Posts tagged ‘Pearl Harbor’

December 6, 2015

Remember Pearl Harbor

by lewwaters

“December 7, 2914, a date that will live in infamy” FDR

Excerpts from the 70th Commemoration in Vancouver, Wa. Sadly, several of these men are no longer with us.

May we never forget

December 7, 2014

Shame on Both Political Parties

by lewwaters

As most realize, today, December 7 is what has been known as “the date that will live in infamy” due to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor back in 1941 that thrust the United States into World War Two.

It is a day to be remembered and has been remembered since.

Locally, there is a yearly Remembrance hosted by the Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors to keep the memory alive, what with survivors of that fateful day being short in number now due to age.

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December 1, 2014

Updated: Why Keep Remembering Pearl Harbor?

by lewwaters

pearl-harbor-uss-virginiaTo a lot of younger people today, the sudden attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is just a note in history. A note that I am sure many think has no relevance on their lives today.

They couldn’t be more wrong. With the attack launching us onto World War Two and the all out effort to defeat the Axis powers, not only was our own freedoms preserved, but former enemies that we defeated came to enjoy freedoms and became our partners.

There have been efforts since the attack at controversy. Claims of advance knowledge of it coming, allowing it to happen, even that then President Roosevelt provoked Japan into attacking us (sound familiar, Ron Paulies?)

I doubt much of that mattered that peaceful Sunday morning to the men and women that were abruptly thrust into war by the surprise attack, though.

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December 7, 2013

A Date That Lives in Infamy

by lewwaters

Due to the weather, the local December 7 Observance had to be cancelled today. So here are excerpts of memories from survivors of the attack they shared with us on the 70th Anniversary in 2011.

Some of these heroes are no longer with us and it is only a matter of time before the others join them. We must not let their experiences fade away and be unknown to younger generations

December 6, 2012

Remembering Pearl Harbor

by lewwaters

As we all know, Sunday, December 7, 1941 saw a sudden and deliberate attack on the U.S. Navy at anchor in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The attack drew America into World War Two and was labeled by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “A day that will live in infamy.”

But few of us know much of what those men in the ships saw and endured on that fateful morning.

I was fortunate to have attended the 70th Commemoration of that attack last year and recorded the words of the few remaining survivors in our area.

May we never forget or let our guard drop like that again.

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December 10, 2011

70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, ‘God Bless America’

by lewwaters

Vancouver’s Penny Ross is joined by Claire Lacy in leading us all in the song, “God Bless America” this past Wednesday at the services commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Claire is the wife of Pearl Harbor survivor Hal Lacy who was aboard the USS Tennessee.

Penny’s father was Donald K. Ross, who was awarded the first Medal of Honor in World War Two for his heroic actions aboard the USS Nevada on that day.

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December 9, 2011

Survivors of Pearl Harbor Share Their Memories

by lewwaters

Wednesday December 7, 2011 was the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust America into World War Two. In this video report, survivors recounted the horrific day.

On this 70th anniversary, 11 survivors of the attack from the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area shared their memories at the commemoration services held at the Red Lion Inn at the Quay.

The event was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Sons & Daughters of the Pearl Harbor Survivors who will continue services previously hosted by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, who have announced disbanding due to an aging and declining membership.

May God continue blessing these heroes. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.

December 7, 2011

December 7, 1941, 70 Years On, A Date That Still Lives in Infamy

by lewwaters

December 7, 1941, a Date that still lives in infamy.

December 7, 2010

Vancouver Pays Homage to the Memory of the Pearl Harbor Attack

by lewwaters

It was 69 years ago today, December 7, 1941, young sailors and soldiers waking to another Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor Hawaii were suddenly and brutally thrust into the war that would become the bloodiest conflict the world has ever seen, World War Two.

For nearly two hours, waves of Japanese aircraft flew in, dropping bombs, torpedoes and strafing airfields and ships moored in the harbor in an effort to cripple the American Naval Pacific Fleet and prevent our Navy from influencing the war that the Japanese was planning to wage in Southeast Asia against Britain, the Netherlands and the U.S. in the Philippines.

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December 6, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day: Survivor S.J. Hemker, USN, Remembering A Day That Should Live In Infamy

by lewwaters

USS New Orleans

By Rees Lloyd

As the nation remembers the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, “a day that will live in infamy,” as President Franklyn D. Roosevelt memorably called it in his dramatic speech declaring war on Japan, S. J. Hemker, U.S. Navy Veteran, American Legionnaire, and Pearl Harbor survivor, remembers it in a much more up close and personal way:

Ordinarily, we would have been at sea, we were at Pearl Harbor because we had to repair an engine that had been sabotaged at the shipyard back in California. I was up on the fantail of our ship, the USS New Orleans, a heavy cruiser, with the Chief Master at Arms. The Quartermaster was there, getting ready to raise the flag,” Hemker recalls.

“It was 7:55 a.m. when we saw the Japanese planes. They were flying so low I could see the pilots faces in the cockpit. They were grinning at us as they went down toward Battle Ship Row. Grinning at me and the Chief. They were so close, you could have thrown something at them and hit them. A potato, maybe. They were that close. Just skimming the top of the water. Torpedo planes. The pilots grinning at us,” Hemker reluctantly, but vividly recalls.

The loudspeakers blared: ‘Man your battle stations – the Japs are attacking.’ All hell broke loose. It was terrible, horrible, …,” he says, pausing in his remembrance.

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August 8, 2010

No Apologies Due Japan for Atomic Bomb

by lewwaters

UPDATE: For those that wish to berate me for saying Japan is owed no apology over America ending the war with the A-Bomb, Japan Developed Atom Bomb (1946 Atlanta Constitution Articles)

It’s difficult to believe that long before most of us were born, the entire world was embroiled in the bloodiest war in history, World War Two. Oh, we’ve read about it in books, learned about it from parents and grandparents who fought in it and saw the many movies made about it.

None can accurately capture the sheer brutality of war, though. Only participation can give the true feeling of that.

Being a Veteran of Viet Nam myself and growing up in the shadow of that brutal war, perhaps that is why I am so perplexed these past few years that the world now seems to demand America apologize to those who drug us into that war for our ending it by the two atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Atomic weapons had never been used and it was not even known that they would work, having just been developed. But work they did and the Japanese agreed to an unconditional surrender, as had Germany many months before. The war ended and the troublesome task of peace began for a while.

But, why use such a brutal weapon that killed over 100,000, many ask today. Surely it could have been ended without taking so many lives, they opine. And, they are wrong.

The brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army is a well known historical fact today, thanks in part to such books as The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, which documented how they used the slaughter and beheadings of innocent Chinese for sport.

The maltreatment of Prisoners of War such as occurred during what is known as the Bataan Death March where “Beheadings, cutting of throats and casual shootings were the more common actions, compared to instances of bayonet stabbing, rape, disembowelment, rifle butt beating and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat” against captured American and Filipino soldiers and civilians are well documented.

Ignored or forgotten is that both Germany and Japan were also working on creating nuclear weapons as America was developing ours. Luckily, our scientists developed ours first.

Couple the Axis’ Powers development programs of Atomic Weapons with their work on developing delivery systems, such as the German Messerschmitt Me-264 Amerika Bomber and the sharing of technology between Germany and Japan prior to wars end, there can be little doubt that had they developed theirs first, it would have been used against Allied forces, if not America itself.

Much has been said over the years of the scientists that developed the American Atomic Bombs expressed hesitation on using it against Japan. While that will be endlessly debated, the decision was not an easy one for President Truman to make.

Given the Japanese refusal of the Potsdam Declaration and the fierce fighting seen in taking Okinawa and the high loss of life on both sides, every indication was that millions of lives would be lost to invade Japan and bring the war to an end by that means.

Many still claim a “demonstration” of the might of the “A-Bomb” would have encouraged Japan to surrender. But, remember that we only had two bombs built and there was still the question of whether or not they would actually work, even though one had worked in the New Mexico desert.

Even if it had worked, given the fanaticism of the Japanese Army at the time and even with the claims now of they were ready to quit anyways, Truman did not have a lot of choices if he were to end the war and avoid millions more in deaths on both sides.

Those now crying that America should now apologize for the Atomic Bomb conveniently leave out one little undisputed fact.

That being, had there not been s sneak attack Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 against the United States Naval Forces moored in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, dragging a reluctant America into a war they were trying to avoid, there would have been no reason to drop any bombs on the cities of Hiroshima or Nagasaki just under 4 years later.

If any apologies are due to anyone, it should be from Germany and Japan for plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict ever seen in the history of mankind.

December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor, How Soon We Forget

by lewwaters

December 7, 1941, 68 years ago today is a date that was slated to “live in infamy.” Then president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, addressed Congress and the nation with a speech that began,

“Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

This date marked our country being drawn into the already ongoing war that would now and forever be known as World War Two, the bloodiest conflict in the recorded history of our planet. After the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, we as a country came together with resolve to end the tyranny of the Nazi’s, Fascist and Imperial Japanese.

In time, the allied forces drew the conflict to a victorious close. Life began anew as war weary Veterans came home and began raising families and building businesses. Memorials were erected across the nation to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice to beat back the enemy and grant even them the freedom to rejoin the nations of the world.

One such Memorial still rests on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. The rusting hulk of the United States Battleship, USS Arizona with over one thousand of her crew forever entombed within her hull.

Each year, fewer and fewer aging Veterans travel to her to pay homage to their fallen heroes, their numbers dwindling at a rapid rate today. Former enemies stand together in respect of the crew and others who gave their lives to bring freedom back to the world. Some have difficulty facing each other, old wounds coming up just below the surface of these men, but they all show respect for those who paid the ultimate price of freedom.

General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, in accepting the unconditional surrender of the Japanese aboard the decks of the Battleship USS Missouri said in part,

“It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”

America vowed to never be caught off guard like that again as we began a peacetime draft of a war ready Military with around the clock watches worldwide as a former ally returned to their villainous conquest of free nations.

Nearly 5 decades later, that “evil empire,” the communist Soviet Union imploded and collapsed upon itself, freeing even more nations from oppression.

During the 5 decades of the “Cold War,” voices that before were marginalized and ignored gained favor and were accepted wherever they spoke against our resolve to remain a free people. Agents of the Soviet Union successfully infiltrated and fed leftist groups sympathetic to the Soviet Cause and convinced all too many that standing for freedom was no longer noble, but a suckers game.

Where our resolve saw us through in keeping South Korea free from Communist aggression, these anti-war voices misled the populace, causing many to look upon the brave sacrifices of our Troops in standing up against Communist aggression in another Southeast Asian county with scorn.

They had us abandon that country to the dark days of years of Communist oppression, millions of their citizens just disappearing.

Elected leaders who spoke out against this evil empire of communism were ridiculed, scoffed at and undermined, some being driven from office and replaced by more leftist who had no resolve to protect the country, falsely believing all we needed to do was appease enemies to avoid war, ignoring that appeasement did not stop the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor long ago.

But, those officials stood fast. They faced communist leaders and the empire collapsed.

Almost immediately, those who favor appeasement began dismantling our around the clock guarding of the country. They spoke of a “peace dividend” and an end to war.

They lulled the nation back to sleep, almost as it was prior to that fateful day in December 1941. The growing threat of another enemy to mankind, even more brutal and savage than before seen was ignored, in spite of nearly three decades of attacks.

They were treated as criminal matters, marginalized as random events or excused as retribution for our own foreign policies from long ago.

Small skirmishes or limited missile strikes were launched in half-hearted strikes against the threat, but it did not deter this new enemy, it only gave them the resolve to continue coming as they saw this powerful nation as on its knees, merely a “paper tiger” now.

Our Military’s were “down sized” and intelligence agencies gutted.

Forgotten was the lesson of needed vigilance learned by an earlier generation at Pearl Harbor as yet another early day saw our country once again “suddenly and deliberately attacked” by high jacked airliners flown into civilian buildings occupied by thousands of innocent people just beginning their days ritual of work.

The death toll of September 11, 2001 exceeded that of the Pearl Harbor Attack as the country rallied behind our president and Troops as once again we went to war to push back an enemy that threatens the peace.

Unlike 1941 though, the country’s resolve for victory was short lived as opportunistic politicians began seeing their chance at seizing political power.

Instead of fighting the radical Jihadists, calls for investigation of the president permeated the air in efforts to have him removed from office. Some of the most ludicrous conspiracy theories were advanced as truths with little or no evidence.

Our Troops were sent off to battle and as we saw in Southeast Asia, prevented from engaging the enemy by “rules of engagement” as politicians decided we must play “nice” with those who would brutally behead our people they captured.

The same “anti-war” voices granted voice in the 1960’s regained their voices and actively hamper the effort at defeating this enemy drowning out the resolve shown shortly after September 11, 2001.

President Roosevelt genuinely felt that December 7, 1941 was a “date that will live in infamy.” He didn’t count on a loud voice from within that cannot even remember September 11, 2001 68 years after.

President Roosevelt told the country,

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

In the midst of the Cold War, then President John F. Kennedy told us,

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001 former President George W. Bush said,

“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”

Current President Barack H. Obama, after delaying nearly 3 months, announces fewer Troops to the war effort than sought and gives a date he intends to begin to quit.

Gone is that resolve for victory, replaced by talk of limited engagement, exit strategy or it costs too much.

Sorry President Roosevelt, but that day you thought would “live in infamy” does seem largely forgotten today.