Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Last Time

We Salute Them

A  L  O  H  A  !

They are in their late 80s & their 90s.
Active duty military personnel
smartly push their wheel chairs
past the emotional crowd.

Around 100 of them returned yesterday;
The cremated ashes of one man
were brought to Pearl Harbor 
for the last time
to be entombed
in the sunken USS UTAH with his
never forgotten ship-mates,
who died aboard her,
on that day 70 years ago-

"They want to return and be
with the shipmates that they lost 
during the attack,"

  Jim Taylor, 
a retired sailor
who coordinates such ceremonies

No one knows
if any of them will return
next December.

Fewer and fewer
survive each passing month.

Though around 2600 of them
still survive,
they are dissolving their organization
with the dying year.
It has become just too much
paperwork for them.
But their
precious documents
are being given into the care
of the US Parks Service.

In order to join the
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association,
each of them wrote an application
detailing WHERE they were on that day,
 what they SAW & DID.

Each year a few of them
tell the rest of us about that day:
fallen commrades,
the smell of burning oil,
 flaming water all around,
and the screams.

They fought war that followed;

But it is their faces,
and yes, their 
that tell us
the most.

is not free."

" Yesterday, December 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.... I, therefore, ask that the Congress declare that since the dastardly and unprovoked attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, 
a state of war has existed between the United States
and the Japanese Empire. "
  President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
request to Congress for a declaration of war, Dec 8, 1941-
One of the most famous radio broadcasts in history.
 listen HERE

" Before we're through with them,
the Japanese language will be spoken
only in Hell. "

--Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey,

spoken from his flagship Enterprise
upon returning to Pearl Harbor 
and seeing the smoking wreckage

 The lives of our Hawaii residents
of Japanese decent
were forever changed
from that day.
Some were interned,
some fought in the most decorated units
of the US Military.
Read about my extraordinary neighbors:

Thank YOU for visiting today! 
Your comment is most welcome-
                                                                                                 Warmly, cloudia