Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mourning...and Everything After

In his exquisite "Downtown:  My Manhattan" the great Pete Hamill - discussing the difference between the oft-confused concepts of sentimentality and nostalgia - wrote, "Sentimentality is always about a lie.  Nostalgia is about real things gone.  Nobody mourns a lie." 

Today, on the seventy-third anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the sailors who called the great battleship the USS Arizona their home and who survived that horrible first Sunday in December, 1941 shall hold their final reunion.  Nine are still alive.  Six or seven of the nine shall make the trip back to Pearl Harbor.  A journey back to the scene of the crime.  The place where 1,177 members of the Arizona's 1,511 member crew were killed.  

If you have any uncertainty whatsoever regarding the fundamental difference between nostalgia and sentimentality - in spite of Pete Hamill's wonderfully blunt primer - then perhaps you could ask any of these nine men - John Delmar Anderson, Lauren Fay Bruner, Louis A. Conter, Lonnie David Cook, Raymond John Haerry, Clarendon Robert Hetrick, Joseph Kopcho Langdell, Howard Kenton Potts and Donald Ray Stratton - to explain it to you.   

It is a distinction with which they have lived every day for seventy-three years.  It is a distinction that none of the nine shall ever forget.  

May we never forget...

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 
(Photo credit: Rob MacMaster - June, 2014)


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