Protect the Truth Against Politicians and Revisionists
The Most Powerful Quote from the Podium at the Pearl Harbor 70th Ceremonies
From the podium the speaker called called for the Pearl Harbor survivors to “rise as able.” From their seats and wheelchairs, the patriarchs of freedom rose. Some stood on their own. Others were lifted with the help of family and members of the National Park Service. The kids in the group were a sprightly 89 years of age. Most vets were in their 90’s. At least one was 99..
On December 7, 2011, those who came to memorialize history, were making it. It was the end to an era. The last gathering of its kind in history and the close to the soon to be disband Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
The 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was noteworthy for its beauty, its power, and the awe of the moment we shared with the aged participants in the battle that changed the world for millions. As is often true in our modern world, there were a few unnecessary elements. Not encouraging was the fact that the event included a pagan incantation to the earth God which launched the event. The absence of an official comment from the President was startling. We all knew that this was a different world from the days that President Ronald Reagan stirred our hearts as he spoke so eloquently to the “boys of Pointe du Hoc” on another great WWII commemoration.
But the spirit of mediocrity and theological confusion began to dissipate as Pearl Harbor survivor Mal Middlesworth rose to the podium to address his fellow comrades and the thousands gathered, and hundreds of thousands watching on television.
He spoke to the heart. To an issue which is the right domain of the heroes who lives and blood gave us the precious history which is our legacy as free men. And when he spoke, you could hear a pin drop.
“Let no author, historian or politician attempt to rewrite the history of what happened here 70 years ago. Let no one disturb the sacred water in the harbor. They hold the watery graves of that date in infamy... You sitting in the audience must be the guardians of our truth.”
Later he would tell a local newspaper:
“There’s only about a half-page in a history book about Pearl Harbor. And half of that half page is a picture of the Arizona,” Middlesworth said. “Our youngsters don’t understand what really happened. They don’t understand that freedom isn’t free.”