The Greatest Generation Honored Reply

pearl harborMy father as well as other WWII survivors commemorated the bombing of Pearl Harbor yesterday. One Pearl Harbor survivor, John Rauschkolb, 92, bows for the invocation during the ceremony at Coast Guard Station Alameda, California.  The Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony is held to mark the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Photo: Michael Macor, The SF Chronicle

A WWII Statue based on the Alfred Eisenstaedt photo “Kissing The War Goodbye”  for Time Magazine featuring an unknown sailor in Times Square on V-J day, 1945.

Yesterday marked the 71th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Habor by Japan and the official entry of the United States into World War II. Over two thousand American soldiers were killed that infamous morning at 7:55 am and 12 vessels were destroyed the most famous being the USS Arizona and the USS Utah. My father was among the survivors and until this day (he’s 93) he carries with him the loathing of war and the feeling that so many lives were lost in vain including those of the Japanese with whom we share so many of the same values. Many Americans observed a moment of silence today to commemorate the Japanese attack and the thousands who lost their lives that day 71 years ago Wednesday. President Barack Obama hailed veterans of the bombing in a statement proclaiming Thursday as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

“Their tenacity helped define the Greatest Generation and their valor fortified all who served during World War II. As a nation, we look to December 7, 1941, to draw strength from the example set by these patriots and to honor all who have sacrificed for our freedoms,” he said.

The Greatest Generation” refers to a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression (so well depicted by John Steinbeck in “The Grapes of Wrath”), and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose hard work and sacrifice during the war (my mother worked in a munitions factory in San Diego having moved there from Oklahoma retracing other “Okies” footsteps on Route 66 ) made a decisive material contribution to the war effort.

Here’s a video to remind you of what exactly happened that day:

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