The list is long but remarkable at first. There are so many names. American names of all sorts. Italian sounding names and Irish sounding names mixed in with Polish and Nordic ones like Ingalls and Iverson. It is a long list though and takes awhile to get all the way through 1,177 names. On second glance you notice something about the list that stirs you deep inside. Some names repeat. They are the brothers.
Charles Murdock and his brother Melvin of Alabama. Donald Lakin and his brother Joseph from California. Charles and Milton Kennington of Tennessee. James and John Kramb of New York. There are many more. Boys proud to enlist together or one happy enough in the service to encourage a little brother to join him.
These men all have one sad thing in common though. They were all in the United States Navy and died on the first day of war. They went to sleep on the USS Arizona Dec. 6, 1941 and were killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor the next morning.
There is another list of course. The survivors. The list of those men lucky enough to have survived the attack on the Arizona that day. Some have since died and their remains placed honorably with those shipmates still aboard. But what of the other survivors? By this I mean the brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers who were back home. Anxious for news of their loved ones they came to realize eventually that their worse fears were true. The boys would never return.
Never a Thanksgiving would be the same. Nor would any holiday. The sailors' birthdays would be agony for them now. A once-special day spent wondering what would have been. Some men would be remembered for years by nephews named after them. Others would be the end of a family line in this country. These survivors, too, have paid a steep price for the liberty we all enjoy.
Those sailors made the ultimate sacrifice as have many Americans since that day and many before. Four hundred thousand American servicemen died in WWII alone. Then, as now, the good are the natural enemy of evil. The men of the Arizona had done nothing to the Japanese. They simply were in the path of evil. But, it is the duty of good people everywhere to stand up to evil. To threaten evil with extinction even though that will never be.
When a group of nations cannot stand up then we must. What use is all the wealth we have in this country if we cannot do some good for the less fortunate on earth? Sometimes that means building roads or schools or sending medicine. Sometimes that means giving evil something to worry about. Never to rest easy. To know the good are out there, and they are coming.