If I'm not mistaken, today is Pearl Harbor Day. Of course I don't remember Pearl Harbor, but I certainly heard enough about it in my life since the generation just before me lived through it and it was still fresh in their minds. I've heard all the stories about where people where and what was going on and of course, about the aftermath. Similar to the stories I tell my own children about Viet Nam, or the day Kennedy was shot. Its passing down our own history as well as our nation's, letting our descendants know of the important place certain events had in our lives. We hope it helps them understand us - know us better - and we hope they learn from history.
I remember my grandfather talking about WWI in the same way, how we should never say unkind things about the Salvation Army because they were the ones on the front lines where he was, serving the men coffee and helping wherever they could. This while the USO was far behind them in safer places. He never forgot and neither have I. The Salvation Army is one the charities I always remember when I can. I do it for my grandfather and for the young man that he was all those years ago, being ministered to by angels in different uniforms.
So today we remember the events at Pearl Harbor that dragged us kicking and screaming into WWII.
And I also remember my brother's service during the Viet Nam years because he was stationed in Pearl Harbor and I was able to visit him there. I still remember the solemn boat ride out to the Arizona Memorial. There were no words spoken. It was something I remember to this day, each detail of the memorial, the ship clearly seen below the water's surface, the wall of names...quite a sobering thing for a then eighteen-year-old girl to experience.
I wish all eighteen-year-olds could experience those things. Pearl Harbor, Flanders Field, Arlington, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Viet Nam Memorial, etc. Because its only when we consider the cost of war that we know how we feel about it. Seeing all those crosses in so many cemeteries across Europe, with names and dates clearly announcing that all who lay under those crosses were barely adults at ages like 18 and 19. A heavy price indeed.
Today I'll think about Pearl Harbor. And that wall of names. And I'll pray.