As we observe Pearl Harbor Day and the anniversary of the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941, it is appropriate that we observe what has recently transpired with Pearl Harbor survivors. Like other World War II veterans, 90 percent of them have passed away.
For more than 50 years, the men and women of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (founded in 1958) have campaigned to memorialize the events and people of Dec. 7, 1941. On Dec. 7, 2011, the president of the association announced that, due to rapidly dwindling number of survivors, the organization had ceased operation and would shut down by the end of the year. While the organization's reunions, social gatherings, lobbying efforts and newsletter publications have come to an end, its legacy has not.
A poetic epitaph has been written and with most appropriate wording as follows:
"The time has come to sail into port and drop anchor. The manning crew is down to a few whose age gives them wisdom to know they will pass through this world but once, and the good they have done will live after them."
The passing away of the WWII veterans, the greatest generation, will leave a void in American society that can never be filled. We may never see the likes of such a generation again. We should show them our appreciation and gratitude while we still can. Lest we forget.
Frank B. Austin