Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Day remembrances

Today is the 65th anniversary.

There's no personal connection to the day; my dad shipped out to Pearl (he boarded a train at the old Union Station railway downtown; it's now part of Minute Maid Park) but got there just as the war was ending, so he never saw any action. He spent his enlistment doing the beginning of peacetime maintenance.

The surviving veterans will gather at the USS Arizona memorial for the last time. Most of them don't expect they can attend a 70th, if there is one.

The Arizona had been loaded with millions of gallons of heavy fuel oil the day before it was sunk in the Japanese attack. That oil has leaked slowly out of it ever since. There has long been concern that the deteriorating condition of the rusting ship might suddenly release what remains of its trapped cargo, causing an environmental disaster. People have been studying ways of dealing with, or preventing, that occurrence.

And in Fredericksburg, the hometown of Admiral Nimitz, they will commemorate the anniversary with the usual speeches and 21-gun salutes, but also with a sale of Texas Historical Commission bonds to expand the facilities there.

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