At the time of this post, exactly 7:55 am, 70 years ago today the history of the world was changed forever. A Sunday morning, clear sky, weeks before Christmas. Everything changed. Not just the lives lost on that day but thousands of others who would enlist to fight both in the Pacific, Europe, and across Africa and Italy. Tom Brokaw declared this to be the “greatest generation”. A selfless brood of men and women who gave up everything they had to take this nation into greatness and commit to stopping the wrath across the world.
Pearl Harbor is remembered every December 7th and with each passing year the number of survivors of that attack dwindle. Soon, they will all be gone as will the remaining men and women from that generation who fought so bravely and gave so much of their own lives so that we can live free. Last night I read that the youngest surviving person from that attack is in his late 80’s. Vivid are the memories of those who fought.
Today we remember those men and women who awoke to bedlam and chaos. We remember those who valiantly fought off the attack. We remember all of the great American soldiers, nurses, sailors, and everyone in between who stood up and volunteered to fight back.
With the passing of our past and the loss of a generation closing in, it is our responsibility to remember and honor those men and women who fought for our freedom. I am fortunate that I live only miles outside of Fort Bragg, NC and have the privilege of being surrounded by our current soldiers. I see them everyday, interact with them, share restaurants, and movie theaters. And every day I tell them thank you.
Ft. Bragg is an interesting place. It’s a city within a city. It has it’s own fast food restaurants, shopping center, gas stations, and more. Along one stretch as you enter the base the streets are named after WWII battles and towns where the Airborne infantry fought. It’s a surreal and yet comforting sight to see.
Both of my grandfathers have long since passed and both served in WWII. One in the Pacific and one in Italy. Both men joining the service to fight back. Most of our parents are part of that baby boomer generation that are reaching the age of retirement themselves. It’s a process of time. It can’t be stopped. Like those from Pearl and from the WWII theaters of action, and the men and women who sacrificed at home. We owe them our thanks and appreciation.
This morning, take a moment to say their names, the ones that you know, or the ones that are nameless. Think about them and be thankful for what you have. Today is time for reflection and remembrance. It’s who we keep the past alive. Talk to your kids about it and teach them what it means to be free and the sacrifices that our countries men and women go through to make it so.
The men and women of Pearl Harbor will always be remembered and kept alive in our hearts. As will every soldier named or unnamed that we hold the candle to in thanks.