Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mixed Emotions

Today I went to the Valor in the Pacific monument, home of the USS Missouri and USS Arizona, among others.  What a melange of emotions I experienced there.

As I wrote on Facebook, anyone who can visit there without tears is either stronger than I, without a heart or soul, or both.  It is a poignant, solemn place.

And then I got angry when I saw Japanese tourists there.  What the heck were they doing there?  They shouldn't be there!  But I recognized that those were visceral emotions, seeking someone to blame, someone on whom I could foist my own emotions.  Logic took over and I realized that they were no more responsible for the attack because they were born Japanese than I am responsible for slavery because I was born a white American.  The people who are responsible for that attack are mostly dead, as are the people who survived it.  Those of us today just honor.

click to enlarge
Didn't wear this Go Army shirt to show disrespect to the Navy--army bases were attacked, too.  I wore it to be pro-military.

As soon as we got off the tender at the Arizona, I could smell the oil.  It was strong.

The captain went down with the ship.

The "bookends of the war"--USS Arizona, where the war started for the US, and USS Missouri, upon which Japan signed the surrender document ending the war.

Mighty Mo, USS Missouri.  I chose not to take (and pay for) the tour as, just a couple years ago, my son and I toured her sister ship, USS New Jersey.

There are other sights to see there as well, including USS Bowfin:
Also known as the Pearl Harbor Avenger, USS Bowfin was launched a year after Pearl Harbor.  I've been aboard the Pampanito in San Francisco and the Bacuna in Philadelphia so I didn't go aboard Bowfin.  There are other sites and museums in the vicinity--could easily spend 5 or more hours there.

A few displays and videos here, as well as at the Army Museum at Fort DeRussy, attempted to give a "Japanese perspective" on the attack, explaining why the Empire did what it did.  I don't give a flying frak why they did what they did--do we try to understand and explain why a rapist does what he does?  No, we condemn him immediately and without question.  I don't care why the attack took place, I condemn it.  Without question.

That's the feeling I left Pearl Harbor with.

I think I'll spend the rest of the day at Waikiki Beach, trying not to think of the of the horror I saw memorialized this morning.


Jerry Doctor said...

" we try to understand and explain why a rapist does what he does? No, we condemn him immediately..."

I wish this was true but more and more it isn't. Why do serial killers murder people? Why did Mao kill millions of Chinese? Why was a four year old girl in my town recently killed in a gang shooting? Because the people responsible are EVIL. Nothing else matters.

I think the current tendency to try to "understand" what "made" these people act the way they did stems from a refusal to believe that there is such a thing as good and evil in our world.

pseudotsuga said...

I visited the Missouri when I was a kid in the 1970s, when it was in mothballs in Bremerton. I was a big WWII buff back then, but I was young and didn't really understand much about it. Now I wish I could go back and stand on the deck and review the deck plaque which marked the end of that war.

maxutils said...

Just as an alternative note ... the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor as a pre-emptive strike tied to their wanting to keep exploiting China ... When we responded, we did so well, hard, and bravely ... but we also put a bunch of them in to internment camps, with at best dubious merit. Few countries can claim purity.

allen (in Michigan) said...

If you keep my unified theory of lefties in mind what their definition of "understand" means in this context is generosity of spirit, finding a path to forgiveness, blah, blah, blah. Everything that says "look at me, I'm a wonderful person!"

So what they're really saying is if "we", meaning lefties, were in charge our superior intellect and boundless generosity of spirit would have prevented the Japanese from attacking us at Pearl Harbor by building bridges of understanding rather then walls of hate.

And hey, who knows? Maybe it would have worked although I'm sure the Chinese, who'd been suffering horrific atrocities at the hands of the Japanese for better then a decade might disagree. The Koreans might also chime in about difficulty of building those bridges.

But lefties won't let those details bother them. They'll block that sort of stuff out of their minds so they can concentrate on how splendidly they would have handled things.

Because they're understanding.

Ellen K said...

Is the Bowfin still there where you can go through it. I think submariners have to be some special kind of crazy. So claustrophobic.

maxutils said...

All well and good ... except that the President at the time was one of the most leftwing Presidents of all time. And just like many believe Bush had better knowledge of the 9/11 plot, but wanted an excuse to go to war (and I must admit ... I have suspicions), there is fairly good evidence that FDR knew the attack was coming, but wanted an excuse to overcome isolationism for the greater good of fighting Hitler and Japan. (Again, I don't disbelieve that. Curious that all of our aircraft carriers were NOT in Pearl Harbor that day) So, I don't really think it's that much of a left/right thing ... I am fully willing to judge without caring about people's motives. Killing a black woman is exactly as wrong as killing a white man ...and I don't care what the race of the Killer is. Japan makes an unprovoked attack, and I don't really care why ... we fight back. Bad move on their part, too. Hamas lobs missiles at Tel Aviv? Israel gets to bomb the crap out of them, regardless of how many women and children they choose to put next to they missile launchers...