Pearl Harbor Day was the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which was not yet one of the 50 United States. Japan declared war on the United States shortly after the attack. The United States declared war on Japan the next day, and Germany declared war on the United States three days later.
The official death toll of Pearl Harbor was 2,403.
December 7 is a day meaningful to the generation that preceded mine - the generation that is sometimes called "The Greatest Generation". In the same way, November 22 is that date for my generation - the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. For a newer generation, January 28 is the date the shuttle Challenger exploded not long after liftoff. There is September 11, 2001. For the people of India, there is what they call "26/11" in their way of writing dates, the terrible Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008.
But the anniversary of Pearl Harbor may not live on for too much longer. Eyewitnesses to the attack are dying of old age. Take the most famous ship in that attack, the USS Arizona. As of July of this year, there were five survivors still alive.
My parents are long gone. If my Dad, a World War II veteran, was still alive, he would be over 100. The man who is interviewed above (his parents immigrated from Mexico) is 105 now. Ray Chavez, a World War II combat veteran, survived Pearl Harbor and still remembers it. And Pearl Harbor wasn't the only tragic thing that happened to him, as he weathered the tragic death of his daughter, grandchild and son in law in a car accident.
This is a report on his 105th birthday celebration.
Yes, he still works out twice a week with a personal trainer.
And he says "I am not a hero".
We must never forgot our history. Without knowing what has come before, we don't know the consequences of what happens today. We can not make good decisions about what is happening now. Not just on December 7, but every day.