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National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

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By Doug Powers  •  December 7, 2012 02:38 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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The “date which will live in infamy” happened on this day 71 years ago:

More than 2,000 people are gathering at Pearl Harbor on Friday to mark the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack that killed thousands of people and launched the United States into World War II.

Ceremonies get under way with a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the exact time the bombing began in 1941.

The crew of a Navy guided-missile destroyer will stand on deck while the ship passes the USS Arizona, a battleship that still lies in the harbor where it sank decades ago.

Hawaii Air National Guard aircraft will fly overhead in missing man formation.

The Navy and National Park Service are hosting the ceremonies, which are being held in remembrance of the 2,390 service members and 49 civilians killed in the attack.

Friday events will also give special recognition to members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew noncombat missions during World War II, and to ray Emory, a 91-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who has pushed to identify the remains of unknown servicemen.

Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is scheduled to give the keynote address at the ceremony. The ceremony will also include a Hawaiian blessing, songs played by the U.S. Pacific Fleet band and a rifle salute from the U.S. Marine Corps.

President Barack Obama marked the day on Thursday by issuing a presidential proclamation, calling for flags to fly at half-staff on Friday and asking all Americans to observe the day of remembrance and honor military service members and veterans.

The Right Scoop has a short documentary here.

Survivors return to Pearl Harbor, 71 years later:

FDR’s speech to a joint session of Congress, December 8, 1941:

Part of the first draft of Roosevelt’s speech, with handwritten changes.

USS Arizona Memorial.

*****

DID YOU KNOW ME THEN
By John Vierra, Park Ranger, USS Arizona Memorial

I was born in a small town in the mid-west or was it a large city back east?
I can’t remember anymore.

Did you know me then?

I remember getting the chores done so I could go to the Saturday matinee or was it the baseball game.
I can’t remember anymore.

Did you know me then?

I remember the depression of the 1930’s and Papa working so hard to care for the family,
Anyway he could with odd jobs. I especially remember Mama making ends meet.
Papa was stern with the family but, Mama sweet Mama , what an angel she was.

Did you know me then?

I remember the swimming hole that we swam in, the bicycle rides, the picnics.

Did you know me then?

I remember school, Boy, do I remember School. I remember the soda shop and the good times after school.
I remember Mary the girl next door or was it Sue the girl I met at the dance.
I can’t remember anymore.

Did you know me then?

I remember people talking about the war in Europe,
But we’re in America why worry about what’s going on there.
This is America, the land of opportunity. We would never get involved in their problems.

Did you know me then?

I remember my brother Bob and I enlisting in the Navy together.
I remember Mama insisting that we serve on the same ship together, so we could take care of each other.

Did you know us then?

I remember our being assigned to the battleship USS Arizona, she was a beautiful sight to behold.
I remember when we were told we were to be home ported in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu.
Wow! Hula girls, grass skirts, beautiful beaches. Paradise, a dream come true.

Did you know us then?

I remember December 6, we all went to Bloch Arena to watch the battle of the music competition.
The music played by the bands was great.

Did you know us then?

I remember Sunday, December 7, not too much going on, just lying around.
Then that thundering noise that broke the Sunday morning quiet. It sounded like hundreds of aircraft.
I remember the explosion, my breath and whole being taken away from me.

Did you know me then?

I can hear Mama crying, Papa hasn’t cried yet.
I want to tell him “It’s ok to cry , Papa, every tear is a prayer”
We’ve been home ported here for a very long time.
I can see our buddies aboard other ships saluting as they pass by. I hope they see me returning their salute.

Do they know me?

My buddies and I are really at peace now. Pray for us!

Did you know me?

Then if you knew us, remember us always.

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