PEARL HARBOR DAY – Dec. 7
75 years ago the still and sunshine of our final state was shaken to realty when a barrage of rising sun aircraft conducted a surprise attack on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and specifically naval base Pearl Harbor and nearby Air Force facilities at Hickam Field.
It was 1991 and I took advantage of the Lady Griz competing in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu to take the family on a Thanksgiving sojourn.
The high flying women were coming off another Mountain West League title and a tenth trip to the National Championship and opened the three-game affair with an overtime 95-94 win over Providence and were awaiting the night game against host Hawaii.
Shannon Cate was in the last of her quartet of Lady Griz seasons and Ann lake was tabbed the team’s top defender as the Lady Griz were to advance to Madison and upset highly seeded Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament only to lose to Lisa Leslie and Southern Cal.
After shoot around in advance of the second game, we took the tour that allowed us to get off on the USS Arizona (BB39) Memorial, sitting atop the ship’s and crews remains.
Ironically the majority of visitors that I remember that day, in my final year of broadcasting the Lady Griz before moving to men’s football and basketball were Japanese.
It was less than a week prior to the 50th anniversary of the surprise attack that killed 2,409 and wounded 1,178 and a day later marked the start of world war two.
I was struck but no surprised by the solemn nature of the two warring nations brought together on the glistening white 184-foot memorial where failure to mingle was not an option.
Some Japanese, still often referred to in the shortened less respected version of their nationality, spoken broken or hardly understandable English but mostly conferred in their native tongue as different generations of world powers either remembered or learned of the human cost of the horrendous conflict that ultimately claimed the lives of 60m people, representing three percent of the world’s 1940 population.
Silence however was the universal language of the day.
The cost of war alters generations..just sayin