Remembering Pearl Harbor

7 Dec

In November 1971, I traveled with my parents to Oahu, Hawaii. We were there with the American Osteopathic Association, of which my father was President. We had an awesome two weeks staying at a newly opened hotel on the beach, enjoying the ocean and the many colorful attractions revealing Hawaii’s rich cultural history.

Like many other tourists to the island, a group of us spent the day visiting the Memorial built over the U.S.S. Arizona, where over 1100 crew members lost their lives on December 7, 1941.  This was the day that the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack against the United States Pacific Fleet at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.  (For details of the number of ships damaged and casualties, see

You ride a boat out to the Memorial. I remember how the conversation amongst those aboard seemed to dwindle and then silence itself as we came upon the Memorial and the remains of the sunken ship. I had read about the battle in U.S. History in high school. I guess it would be to me then as kids reading about Viet Nam would be today – another page out of the history books. But World War II was a “real time” event in my parents’ lives, just as Viet Nam was a “real time” event in mine.

The gap was bridged that day for all of us present by the eerie calm that was so totally contradictory to the events of the actual “day which will live in infamy.”

I have not always been in agreement with the military decisions of my country, but I have come to respect the commitment of those who join the armed forces to serve their country.

One thing that I learned from Grandmother Parisha many years ago was a simple way to help heal the pain of the past – especially for our Viet Nam Veterans. I witnessed her walk up and introduce herself to Veterans and thank them for their service. Sometimes she hugged them. Always, they were visibly moved.

Today I work at a restaurant nearby the Defense Supply Center in Columbus. We get a lot of men and women come in dressed in fatigues – especially on Saturday and Sunday. Each time I take their orders, I reach out my hand and say, “I want to thank you for your service.”  No matter whether they are young or seasoned, they appreciate the acknowledgment.

Grandmother Parisha often teaches the value of “appreciation.” If you study the word, you’ll find that to “appreciate” means to increase in value that to which you are referring. It goes beyond “thank you.”

Pearl Harbor Day, as December 7th is known, is yet another time to take a moment and express appreciation to those who have given their lives defending and protecting this country. Fact is every day is a good day to speak appreciation. No matter what our political views, we all have had or have known young people who have made the ultimate sacrifice believing in the Principles of democracy. Let us always remember them with respect and appreciation.  -Deborah Adler

©2010 Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Remembering Pearl Harbor”

  1. veronicawest December 8, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    Wow this was really neat, I appreciated the post.

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