Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Michelle Malkin: Remembering Pearl Harbor

By Michelle Malkin · December 07, 2004 07:54 AM

From the White House:

On a quiet Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, more than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that day, life changed in America, and the course of history was altered forever.

Our citizens reacted to the attack with firm determination to defeat tyranny and secure our Nation. This enterprise required the commitment and effort of our entire country. At the height of the conflict, the United States had ships on every ocean and troops on five continents. In all, more than 16 million Americans wore the uniform of our Nation. They came from all walks of life. They served honorably and fought fiercely. At home, millions more contributed to the war effort, laboring for victory in our factories, on farms, and across America.

Today, we honor those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, and we pay special tribute to the veterans of World War II. These heroes hold a cherished place in our history. Through their courage, sacrifice, and selfless dedication, they saved our country and preserved freedom. As we fight the war on terror, their patriotism continues to inspire a new generation of Americans who have been called to defend the blessings of liberty.

And Pearl Harbor vets speak:

Pearl Harbor vets worried by coverage of Iraq war... "Don't take this personally, but get the damn media out of there,'' said Donald F. Tabbut, who was a young Navy seaman sleeping in Hawaii when the bombs began falling Dec. 7, 1941.

'Not much interest:' Pearl Harbor vet sees attention to Dec. 7 attack fade..."I've talked at schools and clubs and I've found that there's not much interest. I guess people don't really care. It was too long ago," according to Gilbert Goodwin, who was aboard the USS Curtiss.

One of the reasons for the lack of interest is mind-rotting political correctness. Remember when the movie Pearl Harbor was released three years ago? Asian-American activists protested that vividly reminding audiences of the Japanese attack might stoke hate crimes. John Tateishi, head of the Japanese American Citizens League complained: "No matter how much we look to the future, we keep getting dragged back to Dec. 7. This movie does that -- pulls us back to that attack."

And what is so wrong with that? As Ken Masugi of the Claremont Institute wrote:

Pearl Harbor, the history, teaches us not to fear the burdens of freedom. Pearl Harbor, the film, would teach us that our diversity is a strength. Not quite so. Diversity is a challenge. Our strength lies, rather, in our common love of freedom and the insistence that everybody have it.

But freedom also imposes conditions, often harsh, on those who would cherish it. That duty is what civilized nations forget and their statesmen are continually obliged to etch into the national memory.

Here are some photos of the USS Arizona/Pearl Harbor Memorial, an absolutely stunning shrine to all military personnel who died in the attack.

The little-known Niihau Island attack occurred a few hours after the Oahu raid.

Tom McMahon alerts us to an interesting piece on forgotten Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa.
Roberta Wohlstetter's 1962 book, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, remains the definitive analysis of the intelligence failures leading up to Pearl Harbor.

Jeff Quinton links to National Geographic's memorial site.

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