Solemnity, tributesClear-thinking vigilance about the danger of being attacked at home is one of the great lessons that Dec. 7, 1941, and Pearl Harbor taught the American public, says the commander of all armed forces in the Pacific.
honor the fallen
At Pearl Harbor this morning,New inscription for graves
a blast from a destroyer marks
the exact time the attack began
Newspaper seller recalls attack
Unknown may be identified
By Gregg K. Kakesako
Adm. Dennis Blair, Pacific Forces commander, today said the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 59 years ago is different from other American battles "in part, because it was an attack on U.S. soil; in part, because we consider it an act of treachery."
In his prepared remarks, Blair said "there was a more important lesson to America's potential foes. Japan's wartime leader Gen. Tojo was convinced that America was a 'hollow giant' that would 'fall and crumble to pieces at the first blow.' Japan did not understand its enemy either. Pearl Harbor steeled resolve."
Blair joined Gov. Ben Cayetano and other government and military officials on the Arizona Memorial, offering prayers and floral wreaths remembering the 2,395 Americans who were killed at the start of the Pacific war 59 years ago.
Blair added that the United States and Japan are now "alliance partners, not miscalculating adversaries." In addition, he said, "We maintain military vigilance in places like Korea and engage nations throughout the region to ensure that our interests are protected, while potential adversaries both understand us and are understood by us."
In a surprise raid Dec. 7, 1941, that lasted one hour and 59 minutes, the Japanese sank or damaged 21 American warships, killed 2,405 military personnel and civilians and destroyed 164 planes and damaged another 159. It crippled the Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor.
Ten Navy warships were sunk and 11 others badly damaged. Only the battleships Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma, however, were never returned to action.
At Pearl Harbor this morning, a lone blast from the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper at 7:55 a.m. marked a moment of silence, observing the exact time the attack began. At 8 a.m. a Navy color detail raised the American flag on the Arizona while Hopper's officers and sailors stood at attention as the ship slipped past the white memorial that spans the sunken battleship.
Of the 1,511 sailors assigned to the 608-foot Arizona, 945 are believed to be entombed in the battleship. Oil still seeps from its rusting hull.
A separate National Park Service observance was conducted shoreside at the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center. Utah battleship survivor Clark Simmons recalled the events of that fateful Sunday.
On the other side of Oahu at what was once Kaneohe Naval Air Station, Col. Michael Olson, deputy commander of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and Rear Adm. Michael Holmes, commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, laid another wreath at the Kaneohe Klipper Memorial to remember the 18 sailors and one civilian who were killed that day.
Only nine of the 36 planes at Kaneohe escaped destruction on Dec. 7; six of those were damaged and others were on patrol south of Oahu.
Late this afternoon, three survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack were to be reunited with their shipmates when their ashes were placed in the naval harbor.
Lewis Robinson, who died in 1997 at age 78, will be the 16th Arizona survivor was to be laid to rest in the battleship with the 945 servicemen entombed there.
The ashes of Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Dilloway, who served on the cargo ship USS Castor, and Chief Gunner's Mate Clarence Miller, who was assigned to the minesweeper USS Ramsay, were to be scattered along battleship row between the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri.
Dilloway was 81 when he died on Nov. 29, 1998, in Los Altos, Calif. Miller died in April at 78. He was from Maundelein, Ill.
Yesterday, three Japanese pilots who participated in the Dec. 7 raid and a dozen Pearl Harbor survivors shook hands during a friendship ceremony on the battleship USS Missouri. The fliers were among 250 World War II Japanese veterans who were invited here by the American-Japan Friendship Committee. The veterans and widows of men killed in the war signed a friendship scroll at the end of the ceremony.
The Navy is working to verify grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific which, under a new federal law authored by Hawaii Rep. Patsy Mink, will have the words "USS Arizona" inscribed on them.
USS Arizona to be
inscribed on 74 graves
By Gregg K. Kakesako
Seventy-four graves are believed to contain the remains of 124 unidentified Arizona crewmen killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, said Lorraine E. Marks-Haislip, historian for the USS Arizona Reunion Association. The graves are simply marked "Unknown".
In addition to the inscription, which was a provision in the military authorization bill approved by President Clinton last month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki has said he wants the date, "Dec. 7, 1941," added.
Marks-Haislip has been working with Ray Emory, chief historian of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, who pushed for the change 11 years ago.
The unknown servicemen deserve to have as much information as possible placed on their grave markers, said Emory, who was a crewman on the USS Honolulu during the attack.
Following reviews by the Navy, Army and Department of Veterans Affairs, Punchbowl cemetery director Gene Castagnetti said his office will inspect the conditions of the 74 Arizona headstones.
"Some of these grave markers are 49 years old and could be so fragile that it might be better to contract for 74 new markers," he said.
It would take 90 days for new markers to be made, inscribed and shipped to Hawaii, he said. Each would cost about $72.
Although there are 252 graves holding 642 sets of unknown remains from the attack of Pearl Harbor, Mink's bill addressed only the 74 Arizona graves.
Castagnetti doesn't like the idea of recognizing the dead from just one ship or battle. "After all, there are 1,090 graves at Punchbowl containing 2,923 sets of unknown remains dating to World War II," he said. "It should be nonpartisan."
However, Castagnetti added, "I'll stand tall and follow the public law as it is written, but it is a very narrow application."
Those killed during the Pearl Harbor attack were first buried at Halawa Naval Cemetery.
"Many of the remains were co-mingled in mass grave sites, and later disinterred and held in an Army mortuary until Punchbowl was completed in 1949," Castagnetti said.
More than 28,000 veterans are now buried at Punchbowl.
Edward Pereira was playing touch football at McKinley High School when he and his friends saw black smoke rising on the horizon.
"We saw the smoke, but we didn't know what it meant," said Pereira, now 73. "We didn't know that Pearl Harbor was being attacked."
Pereira, 15 at the time, recalled, "Soon after that, the Bulletin picked us up in a truck and took us into town."
He was referring to Honolulu Star-Bulletin circulation workers, who took Pereira to Kalakaua Avenue and Beach Walk to hawk the paper.
In black 3-inch-high letters, the headline screamed: "WAR! OAHU BOMBED BY JAPANESE PLANES."
Pereira spent the next few hours walking along Kalakaua, calling out the details of the Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor attack, selling his papers for a nickel each.
"They went out in no time," said Pereira, who was drafted just before V-J (Victory over Japan) Day in 1945.
He later worked as a laborer in Kapalama before joining the city, where he was an ambulance driver for 33 years before he retired.
Gregg Kakesako, Star-Bulletin