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Time marches on: Pearl Harbor Survivors Association to disband

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Once 28,000 strong, all the remaining survivors are getting too weak and frail to continue to meet in Hawaii every year to commemorate the event.


    Kind of gives me a lump in my throat to see those men walking in that photo. Truly the Greatest Generation. Soon they will all be gone.
  2. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    My grandpap, who fought on Corregidor and was a POW from May 1942 until the war ended, is 94 now and not doing well. He used to be the president of The American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and they had a convention every year that was well attended. Now it's mostly only the descendants who can attend and it will probably be broken up soon.
  3. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    My grandfather wasn't there, but he married my grandmother two weeks before the attack and was in the Navy during the War.

    You think we've got it rough? They grew up in the Great Depression, which has nothing on this stuff. WWII? Iraq and Afghanistan are gnats on WWII's ass.

    I hope there are events every year marking this event because it changed everything. That and D-Day.
  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    My great-uncle's annual get-together with his WWII Navy vets has dwindled, too. There are only a handful left. He planned to go this year -- from Lafayette to Seattle -- but his doctor nixed it.

    We owe them so much.
  5. printdust

    printdust New Member


    Salute to those heroes.

    I had an uncle who fought at Normandy. He saw such things that he began drinking lighter fluid as alcohol. Died an alcoholic. Never was sure how much of that had to do with the girl he met after the liberation of France who his mother wouldn't approve of him bringing back home. The socially acceptable partner through the family influence made him quite miserable most of his life.
  6. Just a note on that generation: It was preceded by one to two generations (those about 30-60 in 1941) that, as political leaders, established a tremendous social welfare program that was backwards-paying and never corrected to give future generations meaningful choice on the issue. (This decision haunts the American budgetary process to this day.)

    It was followed by a generation (the baby boomers) that decided to spend lavishly on themselves without paying for it, and was so large it triggered the structural problems of Social Security.

    Thus, the Greatest Generation's grandchildren are going to get stuck with the bill for both the Greatest Generation's parents and children -- but not much caused by the Greatest Generation itself.

    America: What the hell?
  7. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This is sad. The importance of remembering this day and this group of servicemen can't be overstated.

    I happened to have watched a History Channel special about Pearl Harbor, back in 2001, I think, because it was an anniversary show, and there was an interview done with a former serviceman who was at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

    He recounted trying to pull another man out of the water and up into a rescue boat -- by reaching his arm over the water to grasp the arm of the guy he was trying to aid. He grabbed hold, only to lose his grip when the other guy's skin literally sloughed off through his fingers, with the victim screaming a scream that the interviewee obviously still had not forgotten -- even 60 years later.

    He choked up, and the camera closed in to show the man's eyes, glistening with tears that then quietly rolled down his face.

    Again, this was 60 years after the fact.

    Think about it. It doesn't usually take most people more than three, maybe five years to think about a parent or other very significant person in in our lives who has died without becoming choked up or too emotional anymore.

    Yet, it happened to this man, still, despite its involving a stranger (who died an hour later), 60 years later.

    If that was any indication -- and, for someone who wasn't there and doesn't know anyone who was, I think it was a good one -- this was a searing event, by any measure.
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Write: In a way, that's not surprising, even after all these years. When I went to Hawaii in 2010, one of THE tours I took was to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial (and it's on my list of must-see things for anyone going there). The stories the guides told about how quickly the flames went through the Arizona were stunning. You can see the ship from the deck of the memorial, which I was not prepared for. One guide also mentioned there are still some survivors who, when they pass, have their ashes entombed with their buddies. The bonds remain that strong after all these years. It sounds like a beautiful ceremony, btw.
  9. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Pearl Harbor, D-Day and the day they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima; as hard as we try, I don't think it's possible to realize the horror.
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    One thing that is unfortunate is that so much of the contemporary World War II literature, film, media coverage, and so forth is meant to lionize, propagandize, and canonize rather than represent accurately and truthfully what went on. Compare the artifacts of Vietnam. I'm not sure I ever realized the horror of World War II until "Saving Private Ryan" came out. It was always depicted as this gay old time where our boys went over to Europe and kicked Nazi ass.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    My grandfather, who has long since passed, was on a boat that a kamikaze pilot crashed into. He survived. I don't know all the details, because he didn't like to talk about it.

    His brother died at Pearl Harbor.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's not Pearl Harbor, but as far as the War in the Pacific goes, has anyone else read "Unbroken" by Laura Hilenbrand?

    It is flawed in that it is largely just one man's story with everything taken at face value, but the level of detail on events nearly seven decades old is breathtaking, and it gives you some idea of what these men actually went through. I'm glad she got to somebody before they were all gone.
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