Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor; A Fond Remembrance


While stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was reminded daily of the Pearl Harbor attack.  I was a junior officer and worked on the third floor of the Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces building.  Each day as I entered the doors of that historic building I saw the dozens of pock marks on the exterior walls, machine gun damage from Japanese Zeroes, and left there untouched to remind all of us the importance of vigilance.

And I was honored to visit the USS Arizona Memorial on many occasions.  We in the military had special and easy access to the memorial at any time we wished to visit.  And, I'm proud to say that I was given the special privilege as an officer to swear in many of my enlisted force during their 're-up' ceremony…an honorable and happy event when they raised their right hand and signed up for four more years of service.  The swearing in ceremony is usually led by Colonels and Generals but, as a prior enlisted officer, many of my troops honored me by asking me to lead their swearing in.  It is always a special day for the enlisted man and he is given a preference of when and where it will be held.  It is a "chill bump" moment when the man or woman will again swear the oath to defend their country and their constitution.  

Because of the august nature of the USS Arizona Memorial, and because it is a living symbol of military sacrifice, it was often the choice of where my troops wanted to be sworn in.  So, off we would go, in the early morning hours and meet up on the docks of Pearl Harbor Navy Base.  Service member, family and friends would be ferried out to the Memorial, arriving just as the sun is rising over the island.

Once we docked at the Memorial we would all note the drops of oil, still rising to the top of the water even after half a century has passed.  We all become more quiet and solemn as we imagine those floating drops as tears rising to the surface, tears from over 1100 sailors who gave their lives on that historic day.  


Then, as the trade winds carried the scent of plumeria across the harbor, we would march to the memorial wall where inscribed are the names of those who still live in their watery grave below.  I would then call the troop being sworn in forward, would raise my right hand, as he raised his, and he would recite the solemn pledge offered time and time again during his military career.

And that pledge was never as heart felt and never offered with as much commitment as when they stood atop the graves of the hundreds of military men who rest below our feet.

It is often hard for those who never served to understand the almost religious commitment that a service member offers in his swearing in.  Most of us know and have friends who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.  When they recite that centuries old oath they are following in the footsteps of millions who have sacrificed, and those who gave their lives for their country.  And never was that commitment as endearing, as enduring, as when it is offered while standing on the very shoulders of those who paid the ultimate price.

Take a moment and say a prayer for those who gave their lives…and offer a prayer of safety for all of our service members as they awake today and head out to do their duty.


Anonymous said...

Very nice for your remembrance---
kudos--- another perfect blog!!!

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks much, anon. Much appreciated.

Ken said...

You've done it again! My sight is blurred by the tears! I salute you and thank you for your service to this country. I am so glad to know people like you who remind me constantly of all the reasons I have to be proud of my country and to love her so.
My Aunt Cam always comes to mind on this day, she lived on Pearl Harbor with her family when that attack occurred. Her stories send shivers down my spine and her memorial she put together should be given to the museum at Pearl, it is one amazing tribute to the horrors survived by some very brave men and women.
I wished I had known you when I was 18, I'm sure you could have assuaged the fear I felt about joining. I waited to be drafted but that never came and now I feel I really missed something in my life. Thank you again. Keep carrying this great message!!

A Modest Scribler said...

Ken, you always make the effort I make worthwhile…I"m happy you appreciate my effort to preserve a place in time that was memorable to me.

As you know, I've said many times that military service was a privilege because it teaches discipline and teamwork and shared sacrifice. It deepens your love of country because most of us have served where freedom doesn't exist…or is in its first blooming.

And we learned to look deeply into another man and see his true worth, regardless of background, culture or skin color. The military always did a marvelous job of making the military institution the one that matters most…second only to our love of country.

Again, thanks, Ken.

Rebecca said...

Another great post. I thank you too for your service to this great country. (or is it once great country?)

Question: what do you think of this?

Visiting conservative sites inevitably leads a person to sites of this theme/nature. I'm beginning to think that there is at least some validity to what they say. What do you think? I ask because I do value your opinion.

Always my best.

A Modest Scribler said...

Rebecca, thanks for the comments about yesterday's blog. As to the link you provided, I think that's some of the nastiest, hate-filled, racist gibberish I've seen. Looks like it came right out of a Nazi propaganda poster. Makes me want to go and wash my hands after being exposed to it.

Ken said...

I might add, Rebecca that a lot of those sites are planted by liberal causes and "social bots" operated and constructed by liberal causes. If anything could discredit a group more it would be being linked to hate like that. I've been an angry conservative most of my life but never have I felt hate like that.

Rebecca said...

"Hate.". What is so hateful? Is criticism hate?

So easily any criticism of things is dismissed as "hate".

In the linked article, what's not true? If its "nazi propaganda" well then it must be easy to disprove.

Mind you, I'm not talking comments, I mean the article itself. Whats not true?

Rebecca said...

I'm not being hateful - I'm saying that this explanation fits the facts, makes the most sense, and has the evidence to support the view.

How is this "hate"? How liberal sounding - ie, when I can't argue on the basis of fact, I say "hate". I say "racist". (which is fine for blacks - black power, black panthers, Mexicans - la raza, Asians, and Jews - but not for whites. Why is that?).

Is the opinion of racial superiority okay for other races, but not the white race? ( or is it only okay because it's bs?). Sarcasm.

Why is racial identity aositive for anyone not white? Not sarcasm

A Modest Scribler said...

Rebecca, I have studied history all of my adult life, Chinese, Asian, American, European and World history and I've paired those studies with the world's philosophies and religions. I've read hundreds of historical bio's and hundreds more histories….and I can tell you that, just because someone laundry lists dozens of lies..and calls them facts, does not make them facts.

And the ads are impressive too, "WHITE MUSIC, KKK RECRUITMENT, JEW HATING SITES, ETC.

These people will choke on their own hate…no matter how many lies they tell themselves. Read the Jean Bedell Smith bio on FDR or Doris Kearns Godwin or some 'real historian'.

Ken said...

I don't know what FDR's religion was. The religion or race of anyone never has really ever bothered me one way or another. What drives me crazy about FDR were his policies. I think he was probably a lot like obama. I also believe, based on what I have read, is that had WWII not occurred his policies would have been proven the disasters they were. The war ended the depression not FDR. Now Mr. S may disagree that's alright but to call the guy a Jew and attribute that as the root cause of his problem, well, need I go further?

A Modest Scribler said...

Ken, I agree with much of what you say about FDR…it was he who started the government heavy-handedness..but I admired his courage, his charm and his intellect. He came up with some very innovative programs…the only fault with them was that the government, and not the free market, managed them.

And, no FDR did not know about Pearl Harbor in advance (though many thought the Japanese would soon strike the Phillipines first). I fault his entire military staff, especially the Navy who never should have had so many ships concentrated at Pearl.

Finally, I believe FDR can take a big part of the credit for allied success after 41…I had only one disagreement with four years of his strategy…but I'll write about that in length later.

Ken said...

See, Rebecca just as I thought, I disagree with Mr. S. I think FDR was charming like obama in a very manipulative and destructive way. A man who took full advantage of a country in a bad way to extend policies only a follower of Marx would have instituted, like my pal obama. As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on the subject of him not being aware of an imminent attack on Hawaii. Tell me, Mr. Scrib, why you're convinced he didn't know. I know he felt this country needed to be rocked to it's core to wake it up and boy, did the emperor and hitler get that done.

Rebecca said...

Sorry, I have been otherwise engaged and have not made it back here. And yes Virginia, it's 4:20 am where I am and I'm up and at it.

I want to be very clear in what I'm trying to convey. What I observe and read is the extraordinary influence of Jews in our government (most especially how many are actually dual citizens), and other institutions. (media, education, banking, etc.)

This is NOT to convey that I blame or resent the average Jewish person. The jews are no more responsible for the actions of their leaders than the Catholics are for the crap that is spewed from the mouth of the pope. Further, much like the catholic church and our own government for that matter, the actions and positions of leadership are Often not for the benefit of their people, but are for the continuance and increase of their own power and influence.

Did FDR know? How do you know that he didn't? Did bush and company know 911 was coming? What was Kennedy's speech about secret societies referring to?

I suppose if these observations or even questioning the official line make me a vile hater, then fine, so be it.

Yes Ken, FDRs policies failed. He also increased taxes massively on confiscated the wealth (gold, is what I'm referring to) of Americans. The facts are the facts.

I've read my share too. I've read in numerous places that the Russian revolution was financed by liberal Jews in new York city. Is this too hateful to even mention?

Facts are not hate. Political correctness is killing us, of this I'm certain.

Well, I'd best get moving. Lots of work to do and there is a lot to be done for the "winter gatherings" (yes, I've actually seen Christmas parties referred to as such).

Some questions: why is there a menorah on the whitehouse lawn? And here's a controversial one: why is it illegal in so many countries to deny the hollocaust? Don't you find this odd? What other truth needs the protection of the law?

Good day to all.

Jerry Carlin said...

Nice memorial post today, Americans have been sacrificed all over the world and I would hate to see what the world might look like without their effort.
It is a debt that cannot be repaid.
Now, Rebecca, really? Hate always destroys the vessel in which it is contained, remember that. And, seriously, if I were you I would research Aliens from other Worlds.
There are tons of "facts" there too!

Frank said...

Wow! That really was a ugly site. That kind of stuff doesn't belong on our national day of mourning. You Tube is full of crap like that. Doesn't make it true or real. We can see/read anything we want and believe anything we want. That's our right, not as Americans but as Human Beings. I dare say, we all might have Jewish Ancestors.Even you Rebecca(a Jewish name).

Wally V said...

I have enjoyed this post the last couple of years. Like you, I have always felt humbled and honored when I have stood on the USS Arizona Memorial. I lift my glass in a silent toast for all those that were there that fateful day.