Saturday, December 07, 2002
Pearl Harbor Vets

Several years ago -- I believe it was in 1996 -- I had the opportunity to be in Honolulu on Pearl Harbor Day. Numerous Pearl Harbor vets were there. I talked with them and took some photos.

They were, of course, mainly in their 70s and 80s. It seemed as if some of them had already resigned themselves to their no longer being a major feature of the collective national consciouness: That they knew that sometime after the 50th anniversary of the attack that the attack's importance would fade. Some of that is just demographics: There are just fewer of them alive to remind us of what happened. Some of that is the reality of intervening events.

Several of the vets had very strong opinions about the politics of the time. They continued to believe the FDR had allowed the attacks to happen, had even ensured that the entire Pacific fleet would be in harbor. The motive was to make sure the US entered WWII. How much of those sentiments were resentment, how much were lingering pro-German attitudes that were against entering the war period, I don't know.