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Our view: War effort lives on in history

Dec. 7 1941 file phoprovided by Dept. Defense shows USS Californiright  after being struck by two battleships two big

Dec. 7, 1941 file photo provided by the Dept. of Defense shows the USS California, right, after being struck by two battleships and two big bombs during a Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. (AP Photo/DOD)

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THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Updated: January 8, 2013 6:16AM



For the first time since it was founded in 1958, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will not formally gather in Hawaii to commemorate the attack of Dec. 7, 1941.

Their failing health and dwindling numbers — only a few thousand still live — prompted the group to disband as the 70th anniversary was observed last year.

Of course, the national day of remembrance goes on Friday at Pearl Harbor and in ceremonies nationwide. But the change does mark another chapter in the fading presence of the generation that fought — and supported those fighting — World War II.

Just as it has with the passing of veterans of the Revolution, the Civil War and World War I, the nature of the remembering changes. No one can recount history quite like someone who’s lived through it and made it.

Then, too, the voices and images of many of those heroes and average Joes and Janes have been recorded and archived in more ways than any earlier conflict.

Lessons of sacrifice, vigilance and courage will endure. But most important, perhaps, is the legacy of national resilience in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. The attack that Sunday left more than 2,400 Americans dead, most of the U.S. Pacific fleet damaged or sunk, most military aircraft destroyed and Hawaii nearly defenseless.

That Monday, the country came together, rolled up its sleeves and turned to the grim business of war.

Today, our threats and dangers are more and more complex than hostile fleets over the horizon. The next attack may come from a rogue nuclear power, a cargo container, homegrown terrorists or cyber attacks launched against a single key computer or millions of smartphones.

America may find it hard to achieve the unity of Dec. 8, 1941, or Sept. 12, 2001, in a world of threats in shades of gray. But Americans never should forget the power of our nation when we rally together.

Scripps Howard News Service



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