Certain days in history will forever live on. It seems to me that the days that are forever remembered are days that start out fairly normally and it appears as though December 7, 1941 is one of those days. The day Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces; seemingly unprovoked, appeared to start out normally but when all was said and done the U.S was thrown into WWII and little would be the same again.
On December 7, 2008, a brisk Sunday morning, brought remembrance ceremonies, but few are left standing who actually witnessed the attacks, or where a direct part of it. In the 67 years since the bombing of pearl harbor there have been many remembrances held, many in the spot where the attack took place. Only one boat is left standing from the attacks, still a somewhat sea worthy vessel. On the celebration this year only 2 men were able to make it to the remembrance ceremony, both survivors of the attack. According to the Baltimore Sun both men who traveled for the event were 87 years old, making them merely fresh faced 20 yr old young men when the attacks took place.
As I think back to that day, so many years before I would grace the world my mind always transfixes on the family members who lived through it. My grandmother at 84 years old was only 17 at the time, my aunt just 19, in fact that day was her 19th birthday. My grandfather, just 20 years old, would go on to serve in the war and receive medals for his role in it. I think of the other side of my family and consider the lives they led in war-torn Italy during the time and I can’t help but remember each year that the lives of all these people were ultimately altered by December 7th.
This year my family did what they always do. We packed into the kitchen to have a birthday cake for my aunt and listen to her as she remembered the events surrounding her 19th birthday. It’s funny to think our remembrance of Pearl Harbor revolve around someone’s birthday cake, but it has for as long as I can remember.
Pearl Harbor and the remembrance of it bears an eerie resemblance to September 11, 2001 for me. As a high school senior living just a mere 20 minutes from Downtown Manhattan on that day I remember everything from the smell that permeated the air as I traveled the 15 miles south from my school to my home. With each mile we passed I was closer to the site and I can’t help but wonder if 67 years from now if people will remember 9/11 as they do Pearl Harbor. I think they will. After all the events changed so many people and so many things for the United States and the world.