Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day

Sixty-nine years ago today, naval and air forces of Japan attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Achieving complete surprise, the Japanese sank four US battleships, damaged four more, killed 2402 US service members and wounded 1282. On the USS Arizona alone, 1177 of the crew of 1400 died when a Japanese bomb penetrated into a powder magazine and caused a catastrophic explosion.

Earlier today I attended the Remembrance Ceremony held by the Greater Lowell Veterans' Council at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. The event featured speeches, patriotic songs, a wreath laying and a "water ceremony" during which everyone in attendance walked to the banks of the nearby Concord River and cast flowers into the water in recognition of those who died at sea.

Especially since September 11, 2001, ceremonies recognizing Pearl Harbor have taken on a new significance to me. Both December 7 and September 11 are reminders that whatever price we pay as a nation for being ever-vigilant is well worth the cost.

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