Have we forgotten Pearl Harbor sacrifices?

Call me old-fashioned or whatever, but I continue to be stunned at how mainstream media have forgotten or deliberately eliminated from their calendars historic days that we, as American citizens, should remember – every year!

It happened again this week, when the historic day to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, came, as it does every year, on Dec. 7 at 7:55 a.m. – and my area newspaper simply ignored it. I expected to see some mention of the date and the event on the front page – but no. So, I took the time to look at every page of the entire edition of the East Bay Times that day and found nothing.

Not only was I shocked but I was – and am – also angry. It makes me wonder about the editors who are ignoring our history. Actually, there are two sides to that question. Are they ignoring our history intentionally, or are they simply ignorant of our history? Either way, they are not qualified to be editors of a major newspaper.

Put me in charge, and I would fire them.

Do you remember the details of that day – Dec. 7, 1941? 81 years ago. If you were alive then, you probably do, and if you are a product of our now terrible school system, you probably don’t.

On that day, the Japanese attacked our installation at Pearl Harbor in a surprise strike that killed some 2,400 servicemen, decimated our military assets there and resulted in our country declaring war against Japan.

It was, for our country, the beginning of the Second World War. War was officially declared the next day.

If you visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial today, you would be able to look at the spot where the U.S.S. Arizona remains submerged. The Memorial itself is beautiful done, but it commemorates a day, as they say, that lives in infamy.

The Arizona alone lost 1,177 sailors and Marines – nearly half the entire death toll of the attack – and most of those fallen remain entombed in the ship, which rests at the bottom of the harbor.

I have visited the site. Seeing the spot where the ship is submerged and the constant flow of bubbles from it brought chills to my soul. Looking at it made me realize that I was looking at the tomb of thousands of young men who volunteered to protect our country and who were killed by an enemy with no morals.

As for my local newspaper’s coverage of Pearl Harbor, the editors didn’t totally forget. They had an article the next day, several pages in, on the commemoration of the bombing. There is a memorial event every year at Pearl Harbor, and each year, of course, the number of actual survivors of the attack grows smaller. They wrote of Ken Stevens, a 100-year-old survivor who was there and also 102-year-old Ira Schab who also survived the attack. This year, only six survivors attended.

In addition to the actual survivors, some 2,500 others were there to remember the fallen.

Mr. Schab said he recalls seeing Japanese planes flying overhead and wondering what to do. He said, “We had no place to go and hoped they’d miss us.” He said he fed ammunition to machine gunners on his vessel, the USS Dobbin, which survived the attack.

He says he has an obligation to attend the remembrance ceremonies and said he wouldn’t miss it because, “I got an awful lot of friends that are still here, that are buried here. I come back out of respect for them.”

Schab wants people to remember those who served that day.

“Remember what they’re here for. Remember and honor those that are left. They did a hell of a job. Those who are still here, dead or alive.”

He wants them all remembered, yet the American people face a media that tend to ignore or to forget. Either way, it is wrong.

I can only hope that editors will look at our history and realize that we have – and they have – the freedoms we enjoy today because of the men and women who served in our military, knowing that their service could end with them losing their lives.

We have an obligation to honor them, their service and their sacrifice.

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