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Pearl Harbor Remembered - December 7, 2006

"... and Our Flag Was Still There!"
by: Doris Newnam

How many times have you heard, and have you sung, our National Anthem?    The "Star Spangled Banner" is a song that brings us to our feet. Military personnel - both current and previous - all stand at attention with a solemn salute, and civilians place their hands over their hearts, as we show respect, love, and honor to our Country that our flag stands for.

On this past December 7, 2006, as I stood with my own hand over my heart and joined the singing of our Anthem, I was struck by the words, "and our flag was still there". At that particular moment, I was standing on the Kilo Pier at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. John, a Pearl Harbor Survivor, and I had a special invitation to attend the early morning ceremonies commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack had occurred at 7:55 AM that Sunday morning, and so each anniversary ceremony is timed to coincide with that event. At precisely 7:55 AM there is a moment of silence and a "missing man" fly over. That's Hawaiian time. If you happen to be in Texas at the Nimitz Museum, then that moment is observed at 12:25 PM, which coincides with the time in Hawaii.

But back on Kilo Pier, it was impossible to listen to the speakers, which included Admiral Gary Roughead, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, and Tom Brokow, and not be caught up in the moment of remembering, or imagining, that horrendous day those 65 years ago. As I looked out across the harbor toward the Arizona, my mind begin to form images of what that day must have looked like. In my mind I saw the bombs, the smoke, and fires raining down upon the waters as the ships exploded, and as life and death struggled side by side.

With these imagines in my head, and my hand over my heart, I solemnly sang along. Suddenly the words took on a more real meaning, for indeed, our National Anthem had been inspired by war and written to describe the awesome feelings by Francis Scott Keys. "...and our flag was still there". Yes, "...and our flag was still there" when Mr. Keys wrote those words, and, yes, "...and our flag was still there" when all of the bombing stopped on December 7, 1941. And yes, through out these 230 plus years, in spite of whatever conflicts, challenges, arguing among ourselves, or with our neighbors, or those of other lands, "...our flag is still there". Yes, "Ole Glory" still waves. And that is awesome! That is amazing! That is FREEDOM! Freedom that came with an extremely high price tag. Freedom that has extremely high maintainence. Freedom that is the envy of those not so fortunate. Freedom that we tend to take for granted, but should be thankful for every day. I simply can not imagine what it would be like to live without the freedoms we enjoy. And I had to wonder what if..... what if our flag had not still been there? What if our flag were not still here? The implications are not something that my brain wants to entertain.

May "Ole Glory" Always Wave...

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God Bless America!

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