Over 75 years have passed between the day Pearl Harbor was attacked by a Japanese force and today, and there’s a real concern that we may slowly be forgetting all that we need to remember about the events of December 7, 1941. Is the weight of the attack slowly drifting away, especially as more and more of the Pearl Harbor survivors pass away? Though memorials like those at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument serve to remind us of that terrible day in American history, its location makes it difficult to reach for some of the American public.
Though Pearl Harbor survivors are getting well into their 90s and even early 100s, they still speak up when they can to continue delivering the message of December 7th, 1941. A message of awareness, of national pride; an image that paints the United States in a light that many still find difficult to stomach – vulnerable.
We learned painfully just how important it is to remember the lessons from that quiet Sunday morning in December. It was a quiet Tuesday morning in September of 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked by an outside force, one that the United States was aware of but did not act against. There are parallels between the two attacks, including a failure to heed the warnings.
With all of this in mind, we’re left to wonder how we can keep the memory of Pearl Harbor alive
Remembering Pearl Harbor
As previously mentioned, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is the greatest tribute to Pearl Harbor one can find, and it’s located right in the heart of where the attack took place. Featuring an array of exhibits filled with artifacts and relics from the time of the attack, guests get the full experience of what it was like during the lead-up to and the morning of the attack, and the immediate aftermath.
The USS Arizona Memorial and Battleship Missouri serve as polar opposites: one built to honor to the men who died during the attack and the other to celebrate the victory and perseverance of the United States over an enemy that, four years prior, had tried to cripple them entirely.
This collection of Pearl Harbor memorabilia and memorials is an amazing start, but there’s more to it. Once you’ve learned what there is to learn at Pearl Harbor, it’s vital to pass that knowledge on to others. At some point, the last of the Pearl Harbor survivors will be gone, leaving the task of retelling these incredible stories to those who may be separated from the attack by upwards of five generations. The more people who are educated about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the better.
As a nation, we can’t forget our history, especially a day that changed us forever. It’s up to all of us to keep it from fading away into the distance of time, to be forgotten, allowing the nation to suffer another Pearl Harbor-like catastrophe.