This column by Jade Moon was published in MidWeek on Dec. 7, 2011
Day of Infamy.
It’s about death and explosions and black smoke and fire. It’s about an attack on our home soil that shocked our nation into war. Every year we say “Never forget,” and for that day we mean it. We spend one day remembering.
“Later on, they used my school, Kalihi Kai, as a dispensary. They were bringing all the wounded over there.”
Both his parents, my grandparents, were Okinawan. But my grandmother was an American citizen, and my grandfather was not. Dad has no idea why the family wasn’t interned during the war.
Hawaii has another deep connection to the war. Many of the Japanese who came here to work the plantations were from Hiroshima Prefecture in southern Honshu. That means many of the Nisei soldiers who fought and died for our country had relatives living in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 6, 1945.
Another Ground Zero. Our histories come full circle, intertwined.
Jade Moon at the Memorial Peace Park in Hiroshima, Japan, 2002
in 2002. We at (the old) KGMB did a television special for Pearl Harbor Day. We called it “Always Remember.” My assignment was to go to Hiroshima and cover the Peace Ceremony marking the anniversary of the bombing that leveled the city and killed 140,000 people, but ultimately ended the war.
What struck me was the lack of bitterness among those who had lost mothers, fathers, children and friends to the nuclear horror.
On December 7 we were attacked. We will never forget. But we fought the war and won it. And then we rebuilt our world, forging new ties even as we rediscovered old friendships.
Even aged survivors of the bomb told me that everything that happened, everything they endured, had to have meaning. And their message to us was all about the horrors of war and the importance the absolute need for peace.
December 7 may be all about the start of a war, but in the end, it is all about peace.