Most of the USS Arizona Crew Perished During the Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor. One Survivor Shares His Story.

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Lonnie Cook is a survivor of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was on the Battleship USS Arizona. He tells his story here. He tells it with the details that only one who had been there could tell.

His memories are as alive today as when they were made. What makes them so powerful is that they are not of the “big picture” reality of that day and its terrible cost, but they come from the intimate, personal view of one who was caught up in the immediacy of survival. A tragic retelling from one of the ships that was sunk by the Japanese surprise attack that day. It is a harrowing account.

Pearl Harbor and the events of that day are now some 73 years in the past. There are very few who remain alive today that were there. That day, which began in this immense tragedy for those who were there and for the United States of America, would bring us into the war with Japan. We would go on to fight tyranny on two sides of the world, Europe and the Pacific. It was because of the naked aggression of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan that the entire world was embroiled in war. It was a war, that if the forces of democracy had not won, we would not be enjoying the luxuries of liberty that we do today. The world would have been a very different place indeed.

The Tragic Toll of Freedom

I am of the Baby Boomer generation. We were born to fathers who had fought that war and come home. For us, the war was something that was over by the time we were born and what we know of it is from the history books and the movies, as well as the memories that we were told by our fathers, those who were able to finally talk about it. We knew how important it was because we heard it in their voices, saw it in the documentaries that kept the memories alive in order to know what a danger Nazism and Imperialism were to democracy.

The fact is that most of the people alive today have little or no memory or relationship to that war, or those who fought it in defense of freedom. It is for this reason that it is even more important that the story be told and remembered, because the threats to democracy are still afoot in the world. We must never forget that freedom is not free, that it is always under attack by forces that deem it a threat to their own tyrannical desires for power.

Watching these brief videos will give you a sense of the quality of men who signed up and wrote a blank check to all of us that could be paid for with their lives. We have a duty to remember those who have sacrificed for all of us.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.