Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Survivors

This article on the AP wires says that many of the survivors of Pearl Harbor, who have been reuniting every five years since the war, expect December 7, 2006, to be the last reunion. 65 years on, most of the survivors are in their 80s or 90s, many wheelchair-bound.

There are survivors who still feel that there can be more reunions:

...some veterans don't believe, or refuse to accept, that this will be the last major gathering.

"They claimed the 60th was going to be the last one. Now they have the 65th. When they have the 70th, then they'll be claiming, 'This will be the last one,'" Hyland said. "They've been crying wolf too many times."

Hyland does accept the fact that their numbers are falling fast.

"We all have our turn and our turn is getting closer," he said.


The bond is so strong that some ask to have their ashes interred inside the Arizona, laid to rest with shipmates who were not so fortunate as to survive Dec. 7, 1941.

"They're coming home," Middlesworth said. "They feel they're coming home."

My parents had me late. My mother survived a Japanese internment camp. I often felt, while she still lived, that the world she grew up in was so distinct from ours, that to talk to her about it was to travel to another time, completely alien but completely familiar. This other era, this other Britain. The other America, where she and my father later met, after my father served in the Pacific. It's so very long ago.

Anyone with grandparents or parents who were alive during that war should talk to them tomorrow.


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