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A Day Seared into America’s Soul

NOTE–This is a reprint. I wrote it more than two years ago while working on Ford’s Island at Pearl Harbor. Ford’s Island is akin to Gettysburg. You can literally feel the ghosts of history. It touches your very soul.

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 let me suggest we need to calm down and stop acting like this was the worst blow the United States ever suffered. (If you lost a loved one on that day, you are excused. That’s a scar that doesn’t go away.) Yes, the events of 9-11 were a tragedy. But we have lost complete perspective on those events. I guess we continue to pick at this like an infected scab because it happened to us and many watched it live on TV. It was the ultimate in reality TV.

So let me try to give this some perspective. Let’s go back to World War II. When German bombers started hitting London in September 1940, British civilians were killed as indiscriminately and unexpectedly as anything Americans experienced on 9-11. The German bombing lasted 8 months. During this period more than 40,000 Brits were killed. That’s about 15 times the casualties we suffered on 9-11. Brits sucked it up and moved on. Us? Many are still weepy and weak knee’ed.

How about the original ground zero–Pear Harbor?

I am currently on Ford Island working a military exercise. Ford Island sits smack dab in the middle of Pearl Harbor. On the morning of December 7, 1941, US battleships were berthed along the shore of the small island. The surprise Japanese attack decimated the fleet of US battleships. The USS Arizona blew up and sank with almost its entire crew still on board. You can visit the memorial, which floats above the Arizona. If you are on Ford Island you can simply walk to the shore and actually view the wreckage, which is about 25 yards off shore.

The USS Okalahoma also suffered a fatal blow. The remainder of the US ships, while badly damaged, were subsequently repaired and sailed again. Total deaths that day? 2402. While less than the total loss in the four attacks/hijackings on 9-11, the military damage was potentially more devastating. Yet, somehow, we recovered and defeated the Japanese in less than four years.

My fundamental problem is that we have not learned a damn thing in the last ten years. Yes, there is a threat of terrorism. But all of the terrorists combined today do not pose the kind of threat that confronted our country by the Germans and Japanese empires 70 years ago.

But you wouldn’t know that from listening to the media. Terrorism, fear of terrorism and combating terrorism remains big business. The US Government has expanded dramatically the number of employees and bureaucracies devoted to fighting terrorism. Few are willing to blow the bullshit whistle on this boondoggle. Ten years after 9-11 we have the National Counter Terrorism Center. It is a useless bureaucratic appendage filled with earnest civil servants whose sole task is to continue to feed the fear factor that grips our country whenever the cable news decide to hype the latest questionable report of terrorists plotting mayhem.

Then there is the civil liberties problem. Many Americans are content to let the Government declare the unilateral right to designate a person as a terrorist, without any due process, and then hold that person in jail for as long as the government likes. Once the state delcares you an enemy of the state you are an enemy by definition and have no right to anything. We fought a cold war against the Soviets for almost 70 years to counter that very ideology. Now? We have embraced it.

Torture? Sure, why not. Let’s ignore the standards we applied to Germans and Japanese soldiers and politicians in the aftermath of WWII. That conflict killed more than 50 million people. Now we are confronted with terrorism, a threat that has resulted in the deaths of less than 100,000 people since we started keeping track of terrorist attacks in 1968.

Do you get it? When it comes to actual loss of life and actual property damange we are taking the least of the threats and transforming it into the equivalent of a global nuclear holocaust.

So count me out for the 10th year maudlin faux memorialization that will grip much of our country tomorrow. I personally think it is bullshit. As long as we use the events of 9-11 to justify continued violations of civil rights and the manipulation of fear in order to cow Americans I don’t care to participate.

UPDATE–Here are some photos I snapped today on Ford Island. Ford Island sits in the middle of Pearl Harbor. Pearl is located on the southern part of Oahu, about ten miles west of Honolulu.

Ford Island (Overhead shot)

Here is a picture of the battleship USS Missouri, which is berthed on the east side of Ford Island. This shot was taken from the mid-point of Ford Island looking north:

A view of the USS Missouri looking north from the east shore of Ford Island

The USS Missouri, which was the site for the signing of Japan’s surrender in September 1945, is now berthed in Pearl Harbor and can be toured. It is a magnificent experience and is a must see if you visit Hawaii:

One hundred yards north of the USS Missouri is the memorial and final resting place for the USS Arizona. I took this shot from the shore. The Arizona sits about 30 yards off of the northern tip of Ford Island.

Here is an overhead view of the USS Arizona and the Memorial chapel that sits above the wreck:

Ford Island is a special place. It is akin to Gettysburg as a sacred site of American history. As we remember the events of 9-11 let us also remember those Americans who died on the shores of Ford Island and in the waters of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

  • gracepmc

    Thanks for this.

  • beyond partisan

    Did Obama target Seat Team 6? Well, if you believe what I believe, that Osama bin Laden had been dead for years before he was “officially” killed, it’s not surprising…http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/american-warrior-blood-is-pooling-in-oval-office/

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/12/sarah-palin-to-host-new-tv-series-amazing-america-on-sportsman-channel/

    whether or not you like Sarah Palin, you have to notice she finds the good in America, while backtrack does nothing but tear America down

  • HELENK2

    http://freebeacon.com/roves-advice-white-house-stop-putting-zeke-emanuel-on-television/

    when Karl Rove tells you to keep ezek emanuel off the air, you know you have a problem

    • Deapster

      When someone as reviled as Obama is digging his own grave, why ask them to stop?

      Did Pepsi tell Coke how to improve their New Coke roll out?

  • HELENK2

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/12/the_world_will_not_wait_for_the_next_guy_mr_president.html

    the world will not wait for the next guy backtrack

    this is one hell of an indictment of backtrack’s diplomatic fails

  • HELENK2
  • Deapster

    Hersh: Obama trapped in yet another Massive Lie – Syria gas attack he blamed on Assad. http://news.yahoo.com/seymour-hersh-alleges-obama-administration-lied-syria-gas-204437397.html

  • Deapster

    Obamacare ihas out-stripped the New Coke launch as the epitome of the worst bungled roll-out.

    Clueless-in-Chief’s finest hour. Except when he is still constantly blaming Bush.

    But now after sharing AirForce One with the Devil Incarnate himself as he wings off to the Mandela Photo-Op as our first Mulatto President, what will his Bush-whacking obot fans have to say about that?

    • beyond partisan

      I bet Obots are secretly excited Nelson Mandela died right now…just in time to take attention off of Obamacare and put to good use as a way to bring back the ole “Obama magic.” Look! Nelson Mandela had a picture of himself with Obama on his desk! Look! Obama could not have been president without Mandela! Look! Here’s a photo of Obama in Mandela’s prison! You half wonder if Obama’s SS didn’t secretly poison Mandela’s water to get him to die before Obama’s second term was out.

  • HARP2

    Just for giggles….try this.

    • foxyladi14

      .lol

    • KenoshaMarge

      That’s brilliant! Best one ever.

    • HELENK2

      stole it

  • 0getfitnow1

    In many ways this is a great article, as usual from VDH. But there
    is one serious omission. It doesn’t mention the fundamental failing that
    has led to the current debacle – the press.

    http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/learning-through-pain/?singlepage=true

    • Deapster

      Does it mention all the voters themselves who still choose to watch MSM and continue to vote blindly against their own best interests? The buck really stops with the voters.

  • HARP2

    The truth is what serves the Party. — V I Lenin
    ——————————————–
    The democrat logo.

    • Deapster

      And the party is only interested in what they can get for themselves with other people’s money. Voters are so stupid.

  • HELENK2

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/08/world-war-ii-veteran-en-route-to-pearl-harbor-ceremony-booted-from-flight/?cmpid=NL_fntop

    united airlines has NO class. if there is any other way to fly please do.

    united booted 90 year old WW2 vet on his way to Pearl Harbor ceremony

    • 0getfitnow1

      Unfriendly skies. /s

    • foxyladi14

      Shame on them.

  • HELENK2

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/12/08/afghanistan-agrees-to-pact-with-iran-while-resisting-agreement-with-u-s/

    afghanistan agrees to pact with iran while resisting agreement with US.

    how many years, how much treasure, how much blood spilled to help these people. enough is enough
    they are not are friends , they never will be.

    as far as leaving troops to train them, if they have not learned to defend themselves by now after all these years they will never learn as they do not want to learn.

    • Deapster

      Iran must have opened up their borders to their poppy and heroin trade to the Persian Gulf. No wonder Karzai was holding out. At least we turned him into a cold-blooded capitalist.

    • foxyladi14

      GET OUT NOW!!!!

  • MG6
  • HARP2

    So he did make Dec 7 all about himself.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Most narcissistic POTUS ever!

  • HELENK2

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/12/08/msnbc-host-calling-the-aca-obamacare-is-same-as-using-the-n-word/

    I am laughing so hard.now calling the “affordable care act” obamacare is like using the “N” word

    when all else fails cry racism.
    welll honey that card is overdrawn

    • Deapster

      So I guess calling Iraq “Bush’s War” is racist Get Whitey now too?

    • Deapster

      Listen up Melissa, you ignorant slut:

      1. Nixon (white) was more than Watergate
      2. Kennedy (white) was more than his assassination.
      3. Carter (white) was more than killer rabbits
      4. Reagan (white) was more than Contra-gate
      5. Clinton (white) was more than Monica

      6. Obama (mulatto) IS Obamacare right now.

      Live with it, Melissa just like every other President has. It is Obama’s thin skin that is his problem; not his mulatto skin which is as thick as the nearest race card.

      BTW: Why do you keep insisting he represents all black men. He looks as stupid now as a lot of white men too. Worst of both worlds, and he …… did build it.

      • KenoshaMarge

        Melissa is stupid. She isn’t stupid because she’s black or because she’s a woman – she’s stupid because that oatmeal between her ears is substandard.
        Ask any brain surgeon, Ben Carson comes to mind, if there is any difference in the color of brain matter. It’s all the same color. It’s just how you use it that matters.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Isn’t she the dimwit that wore tampons as earrings on one of her programs? After that bit of lunacy nothing she has to say is relevant.

  • HELENK2
    • Deapster

      Who is this guy? Love where he is going with this. Common core IS scary.

      And reflects exactly what has been happening in public education without being so institutionalized and blatantly biased. Shocking, but they were getting this pap anyway.

      This is a superb video and one I hope that gets a lot of viewers. Particularly the race baiting MSNBC crowd. A keeper.

  • HELENK2

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/12/08/jesse-jackson-apartheid-remains-in-america/

    and here comes jesse jackson.

    since he seems to have such problems with this country, move out no one is forcing him to stay in a place where he is unhappy

    • Deapster

      The race hustlers are so yesterday. This is post-MLK America. We judge a man by his character, or lack thereof. Not by the color of his skin, or his skin in the game.

  • Bill Sharp

    Interesting article, Lary. Another fact is the U.S. population in 1941 was less than half the population at 9-11, thereby making the total loss of life at Pearl Harbor that much greater. Dealing with tactics of terrorism is far, far different than facing enemy troops in uniform, Italians, germans, Japanese, even Japanese suicide pilots. regarding the fact we are using questionable methods to gain information and protect Americans from terrorism , important to remember the internment of Japanese-Americans citizens during WWII. I think it had to be done. Yes, I was alive then, just a little kid, but a curious kid who learned how to read by reading comic books and the daily newspaper, and I knew what was going on. At the time I remember hoping the war would continue until I was old enough to get into it, but that didn’t happen until Korea.

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-architect-if-you-your-doctor-you-can-pay-more_769688.html

    this guy brings out the worst in me. I just feel like I want to bitch slap him.

    zeke emanual

    • Deapster

      What is really scary about this is everyone in the WH inner circle is now trying to rehabilitate Obama; not Obamacare.

      In post MLK America, we can judge a person by their character. This Inner WH circle no longer has to worry if this “black (mulatto) man fails; then all black men will suffer failure.

      Obama failed because he was a jerk. This inner group of WH harpies put their money on the wrong horse.

      They need to belly up to their own mistake; not bellyache because Obama exposed himself to the the fraud that was long obvious to anyone, who was not wearing race-hustling goggles like this Inner Circle from ValJar on down.

    • S7teen70six

      He is just another ass snake, lying liberal communist with an overinflated ego and sense of worth. Not worth your time or inclination Helen.

    • MG6

      Has anyone get the sense we are govern by people who have narcissis personalities disorder (NPD) or Imbeciles (ala Biden). By people who are in it for themselves ie, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc…
      We have allowed the insane and low IQ’s into our nations Capitol.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Not surprising he makes you feel that way, and I feel that way too. Other than POTUS, he looks to be the most arrogant POS in the country. And there are so many it takes real arrogance and a big dab of supercilious to get near the top of the list.
      Are the Dems so tone deaf they don’t realize that this man is NOT a good spokesperson for them?

    • Deapster

      POTUS is doing himself no favors having his surrogates out their still making excuses. But why would I want to give this POS any advice in the first place. Let them keep hoisting themselves on their own petards.

  • HELENK2

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/12/glenn-greenwald-slams-lapdog-obama-media-thats-in-servitude-to-government-video/

    is it my imagination or has there been a slight change in the wind since October 1st?

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2

    http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/12/08/huckabees-12-days-obamacare

    from the huckabee show last night

    the 12 days of obamacare

    • Deapster

      Good one. Fun to see what the final 12 day gift turns out to be. No telling!

  • HELENK2

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/12/obamacare_metes_out_restitution.html

    backtrack metes out restitution.

    his priorities are really screwed up

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/12/08/judge-jeanine-clock-ticking-obamacare

    Judge Jeanine’s opening statement last night——the clock is ticking

  • S7teen70six

    From Jonathan Karl on This Week: “Obama’s relationship with Mandela was brief but the most profound. If not for Mandela there wouldn’t be a President Obama.”

    What absolute propaganda bunk. Bullshit to be exact.

    • 0getfitnow1

      One man’s perspective:

      South Africa may be in worse apartheid state than it was originally.

      http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/south-africa-in-the-shadows/print/

      • JohnnyTwoDog

        The skills to take over a country are not the same as the skills needed to run a country.

        Amazingly Hollywood gets that dichotomy e.g. Marlon Brando’s Burn or the more recent Gladiator, and yet can’t connect it to current US events.

      • Deapster

        What African nation success story will South Africa model once they throw out all vestiges of former European model governance?

        They remain one hair breadth from total tribal anarchy and devolving quickly into another Zimbabwe or Uganda under Idi Amin.

        Strip out all the assets owned by whites to support black crony avarice and corruption and leave the mess left behind for another generation to sort out.

        That has been your history of black rule governance post-colonialism.

      • Deapster

        Look no further for what post-Mandela South Africa will look like. His own relatives are at each other hammer and tong over the Mandela “brand”: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/family-politicians-battle-over-quot-brand-mandela-quot-110444682.html

    • foxyladi14

      But we knew that was coming.

    • Deapster

      Excuse me, but did not Mandela refuse to make time to visit when Obama did his last “black victory tour” in Africa? When it was obvious Obama wanted to milk every ounce of reflected glory from this frail man at his bedside.

    • Deapster

      In South Africa more than any other country, Obama would be “colored” and not even black. He would be a meaningless cipher rejected by both black and white worlds.

      Obama is a mulatto; not a black. And only a passing curiosity who grew up with neither a slavery ancestry or an apartheid experience.

      He grew up as a stoner, privileged mixed-race American in a multi-cultural world which is about as good as it gets on this planet.

  • deehra

    My grandson’s birthday is Dec.8. When he was born we were so relieved he wasn’t born on the 7th, as it remains one of the saddest days in our history to us and many Americans.

    • HELENK2

      my youngest grand daughter’s birthday is Sept 11

  • HELENK2

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/12/07/never-forget-reflecting-72nd-anniversary-pearl-harbor-day

    never forget

    backtrack could not even be bothered to pay tribute to the Victims and survivors of Pearl Harbor today. He lived in Hawaii so he knows just how important this day is to the country. unless he was so stoned the whole time he lived there that he did not and still does not get it.
    how did we get stuck with this loser?

    • Deapster

      According to all contemporaneous reports from those who knew him, he was stoned pretty much his whole time in Hawaii.

      Pot permanently disturbs the normal development of young brains. Pretty much like fetal alcohol syndrome wiped out generations of Russians who never had a chance.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Nor was media particularly interested in Pearl Harbor Day.

      I had DVRd a program on the sixth about the first 24 hours after Pearl Harbor – showing FDR’s perspective and watched that last night. (It was very good and informative. True or not I have no way of knowing.)

      I had expected to find lots of Pearl Harbor programming and was stunned that I did not. I find that disturbing.

      • elizabethrc

        What do we expect when supposedly higher minded networks like PBS (we pay for it) show endless repeats of The Celtic singers, 50′s, 60′s, 70′s doo wop shows with over the hill singers, The African American Experience, and cover the death of some celebrity or other, start to finish, as well as the enlightening behind the scenes at Downtown Abbey, ad nauseum? I guess they think there is just too much better stuff out there that must be covered! Oh, and don’t forget Charlie Rose on an apparently endless cycle of liberal leaning interviews with people most of us have never heard of.
        How many programs about Pearl Harbor did they show yesterday?

        • DianaLC

          I watch the military history channel instead.

          • JohnnyTwoDog

            The Military Channel has more and better historical programming than the History Channel.

        • KenoshaMarge

          I was saddened the there was so little programming about Pearl Harbor.

          I confess waiting with great anticipation for the new season of Downton Abbey to begin tonight.

          • elizabethrc

            I, too like downtown Abbey, but I am tired of the channel making shows about the making of Downtown Abbey. Just show me the show!

            • nickoury

              “…, you’ve got to go downtown,George. It’s ALL downtown.”

            • KenoshaMarge

              I agree with that!

    • chrissy

      The Liar In Chief spent Thanksgiving with illegals. I guess spending time with the troops would have been to big a hardship. Or visiting Walter Reed.

  • HELENK2

    some music from the WW2 era. it was weird hearing Tokyo Rose talk about the B29 in China. that was the theater of war that my father was in. he was a motor sgt under Vinegar Joe Stillwell

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCGiZ5KZ1-w

  • S7teen70six

    300+ million of us are attacked every single day. Silently and without much fanfare or attention the very foundation of our Republic is being destroyed from within. When will we wake up as a nation to realize that we must fight back or perish?

    • Bill Sharp

      Oh, millions of us are wide awake, but we are the minority now, not even the silent majority anymore, just the minority. If you think the majority of Americans even know about the Pearl Harbor attack, dream on. Obama, for example, knows little about WWII. He’s made several bigtime mistakes commenting on events then. Of course, no one calls him on his stupidity, obvious lack of interest. He cares about Pearl Harbor about as much as he ccares about the Constitution or George Washington.

  • DianaLC

    I’ve been waiting all day for something to be said or written about Pearl Harbor and that attack so many years ago. I do believe I didn’t hear one mention on television today really, though I just don’t watch news much on Saturday.
    But I thought about it all day after I pulled the page off my daily calendar to se that “December 7″ date.
    I have been to Hawaii, but only really to Kawai. I would love some day to tour Pearl Harbor. I did get to Charleston for my older son’s graduation from the Naval Nuclear Power School. We, of course, toured the Naval History site in Charleston. What a thrill to walk all around and throughout the Yorktown.
    And as for your opinion about the current wailing about the “War on Terrorism,” and the overgrown bureaucracy surrounding that, I agree completely. We’re like nervous children now who just can’t make ourselves quit picking a scab. (And I also exempt the people who lost loved ones that day.)
    Thanks for remembering this important date. And thanks for the photos.

    • KlugerRD

      I’ve been to Hawaii many times, but the first time was to Oahu and I did visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Until then it was an event in history.

      When i went there the minute you are in the harbor and above the sunken ships you are transported back when so many young people lost their lives and there were so much brave acts of heroism.

      The number of survivors from that time are rapidly diminishing and to honor them and all those who were there we should always remember this day every single year.

      To honor them, Obama today said, ” . . . . . . . . . . ”

      Go to hell Obama

      • DianaLC

        EXACTLY! (What you wrote._

        • KenoshaMarge

          Ditto!

      • foxyladi14

        Amen.

  • HELENK2

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/55469

    the Warrior’s Tale

    this was written a while ago but it should be remembered

  • HELENK2
    • foxyladi14

      Thanks Helen.

  • HELENK2

    stolen from a commenter at the crawdad hole

    Saw a doc. about Arizona.The vets who survived 1941 are able to have remains interred once they die, in the ocean w/ the Arizona. A private family ceremony is held off hours on the memorial site and then, and a scuba diver takes the urn and places it in a hidden crypt in the water there at the site.

    To join his fellows on the Arizona.

  • Deapster

    No sadder photo than that overhead shot. More powerful than seeing it just from the water level. The destruction was so complete. And the lives entombed so finally gone.

  • Deapster

    Obama is going to exploit Mandela’s funeral for his own benefit and polish up his “black” credentials; yet fails to honor US history of even greater meaning. Good thing at least Meeeshell “cares so deeply” about military families.

    • HARP2

      Wait until they see the Clintons sneak a “Hillary 2016″ bumper sticker on Mandela`s casket.

    • elizabethrc

      Obama used the occasion to state that he has stopped the Iranian nuclear buildup. He cannot let even this day go by without self aggrandizement.
      Pitiful.
      When I was younger, I worked in SOPA (admin) at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard n Portsmouth, VA. I got to see so many of the ships that had seen battle and had come in for repairs. I still think about all of the young lives which were lost off of those ships, in service to this country. I saw the young USS Forrestal, built after WWII, but the wonder of it stays with me to this day. Sad that it was just sold for scrap for 1 penny.
      Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

      • Deapster

        Huh, there was a report today Iran is continuing with their enrichment program. Plus that was a proposal only, not a signed agreement. Obama lies blatantly again. I hope his fellow signers stick it to his sorry ass.

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2

    we have a very bad habit of taking things for granted in this country. Not since the civil war have battles been fought on the continent of the USA. The shock of the attack at Pearl Harbor woke people up. They had hoped and prayed that after WW1 there would never be another world wide war. they were wrong. As one Japanese commander said ” we have awakened a sleeping giant.” That giant woke up and roared. every man woman and child became involved and determined to beat the axis powers.

    On 9-11 we woke up again but this time we were advised to ” go Shopping” to help the economy. Now a lot of the American people really do not feel involved in the defense of our country. A lot is asked of our military to fight on foreign shores against enemies that for some reason our government gives aid and comfort to. I honestly do not know what it will take to wake our people up, to get them involved and to get a government that wants them involved

  • KenoshaMarge

    After the attack on Pearl Harbor Americans didn’t whine and cringe – they got up on their hind legs and fought back. Whether in the factories or in the Military Americans did what they could do to make their country safe. We should be proud and many/most of us are.

    Perhaps that’s why so many of us were and remain outraged about the Park Service trying to stop WWII Vets on the “Honor Flights” from entering their memorial.

    Of all the comtemptible things the Obama Administration has done, and there more than a few, that, IMO, was the worst.

  • foxyladi14

    Excellent Larry Thank you.