The Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration kicks off today 7:45 am local time, which is 12:45 pm EST.
You can live stream the commemoration, see here for options.
I had planned to attend in person. As a civilian, non-veteran family I would not have had access to the key events, and in the end I could not make the schedule work.
The Iwo Jima 70th Commemoration that I attended was my most moving travel experience.
We are reaching the point where veterans of the war still with us are few. The consequences of that conflagration shaped our present. The over 400,000 American dead represented 0.32% of the US population. Worldwide the estimated 60-80 million dead represented over 3% of the population.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the first sitting Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor since that day, when he joins President Obama on December 26-27. This follows President Obama’s visit to nuclear bomb target Hiroshima.
In 2016 we have the feel of a world making a jarring break from its track, the year of self-inflicted disruption and folly. Europe and the UK are wrestling with the future of nationhood and neighborhood. Russia is menacing democracies near and far. The Middle East is a mix of war and possibility. In Africa, former powers are struggling while positive surprises emerge such as a peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia. In Latin America, Colombia is ascending to peace, Venezuela is cratering to economic ruin, and a new dawn seems possible in Cuba. Asia’s oceans and history continue to be flashpoints. India threw its economy into comical chaos by pulling high-value notes from circulation.
The US has chosen massive political disruption. Even before those recently triumphant have taken office, many of the norms of public conduct have been up-ended.
The events of December 7, 1941 should be remembered for the sacrifice and bravery of those lost that day and in the four years that followed . As well, the way the US was challenged and did not always live up to its ideals should remembered, most directly connected to Pearl Harbor, with echoes in present-day rhetoric, the internment of Japanese-Americans. It speaks to America’s capacity for humanity that we can mark an attack upon us with grace and magnanimity, a celebration our of own rather than a condemnation of the perpetrator.