Friday, December 07, 2007

Heroes And Douche Bags Of The Week: Day Of Infamy

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. My father served in WWII, enlisting in the Air Force after the attack in Hawaii, and served for years stationed in Italy. My mother was in high school and both of my grandmothers worked in local war factories.

I grew up with the ability to find out what life was really like during that time rather than just hear about it on the History Channel.

Everett Hyland was ferrying ammunition to an anti-aircraft gun aboard the USS Pennsylvania on December 7, 1941, when a bomb hit, throwing him down.

A sailor plays taps at last year's ceremony honoring the fallen at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

"I never heard anything. The only thing I knew I was flat on my face and my arms were extended in front of me and they were all purple and bleeding," Hyland said. "I ended up pretty well banged up."

On Friday, Hyland joined some 50 survivors and hundreds more family members and officials at a Pearl Harbor pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial to honor the attack's victims.

The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the time of the 1941 attack, and Chinook helicopters flew over in formation, followed by a B-2 stealth bomber.

The USS Pennsylvania was among the last ships hit by Japanese bombs 66 years ago as it was dry-docked and not sitting in Battleship Row. The vessel escaped with moderate damage and set sail again after being repaired. Even so, 15 men aboard were killed and 38 men were wounded. Fourteen were judged missing in action.

The casualties added to the overall Pearl Harbor attack toll of 2,388 dead and 1,178 wounded. The shocking assault thrust the United States into World War II.
I've been to the Pearl Harbor War Memorial. Oil still leaks from the submerged USS Arizona to this day.

Today, my Heroes of the Week are the heroes of that actual day and the survivors still alive. My Douche Bags of the Week are the Japanese Zero kamikaze pilots that attacked Pearl Harbor and the leaders that sent them.

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