Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Webfoot Wednesday: Pearl Harbor

Today's Oregonian included news that the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association will disband today, the 70th anniversary of the Japanese bombing that drew the United States formally into World War II. Such an announcement was only a matter of time; after all, the very youngest among the Pearl Harbor survivors will soon cross the threshold of 90. It brings me some sadness. My late Great Uncle Jens Peter "Cy" Simonsen was a Pearl Harbor survivor, and it was an event that defined his life. He was on the USS Maryland, which was hit but not sunk during the attack. He proudly joined the Survivor's Association, and he and Aunt Marlys attended gatherings locally and across the nation. He shared his experiences for the benefit of countless school projects. I still have a survivors' mug in my kitchen cabinet.

Some of the survivors profiled in the article were concerned society would forget about the events of December 7, 1941. These are observations that point toward the paramount importance of telling our stories -- of triumph, of pain, and of everything in between. When we share our stories, we weave a tapestry of shared memory from which we can draw, learn and define ourselves (both within and against) long into our future.

I won't forget, Uncle Cy.

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