I just sat there. Feet dangling, like a school kid, off the built-up bank. Westward, across the Harbor, was the bright white memorial. I planned my flight through Hawaii specifically for this moment. I had memorized names. Read and reread reports of that day. I replayed my own image of everything in my brain, from my shitty little spot on the waterfront. This day would–decades before my birth–end up framing very many years of my adult life, and the world I have chosen to navigate and engage. I sat there, alone–repeating and remembering–and waited for hours for the sun to drop.
Then I picked my ass up. Shouldered my ruck, and hoofed it to the nearest bus stop. My layover ended in an hour.
Ask just about Japanese person what started the War in the Pacific, and you’ve got a solid 50/50 shot of getting a palms up. Ask the 50% who knew the answer, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single person under 80 who could tell you *when* it started.
Ask those same Nihonjin when John Lennon was shot…and I’ve literally never met an adult who could not answer. Belies the priority of knowledge; what should be known.
We all [in here] know. We should *all* know. Every god of every pantheon, and every child born on the Pacific Rim should know and remember this day. No other single catalyst in the history of Earth has shown such an absolutely insane spectrum of reaction, development, and execution. No other moment in U.S. history shows–beyond the shadow of any doubt–what this Nation can do when we are not knit-picking superfluous bullshit, are standing together, and *engaging* our obstacles [instead of bitching about them].
Americans died. On station. Serving a country whose unknown enemy was already *inside* the gates.
From that point, no one of any real relevance had any doubt about how the Nation would proceed. And it fucking proceeded, punctuating that long, bloody sentence with a fire the world had never seen.
Never, ever, EVER forget this day. (In a long line of other dark days, to be sure. Welcome to Earth.) And never forget that the Americans who died on this day were left behind by shipmates, swim buddies, battle buddies, and wingmen who skipped zero beats in the commencement of hand delivering retribution, and freedom.
The first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Pearl Harbor–ever–will do so this month. Word on the street is that he will not be apologizing (a line our own POTUS [should not have] skirted in Hiroshima). Nor, I personally think, should he. Another convo for another time. Right now, we remember the fallen. Sing their song. We can do the future tomorrow.
Editorial Cartoon courtesy of