December 19, 2006
December 7, 2006
At Worldcon I did a panel with a talented artist, Ian W. Straughan, who has become a reader (and apparently a fan) of my books. A few days ago I received several images in my mailbox which (Ian claims) he “knocked together” based on descriptions in the book. This is the carrier Duc d’Enghien; the sensor array is shown spanning the areas between the fighter launch bays.
This may be no big deal for Ian, but I’m amazingly impressed. The full image is significantly larger, by the way; I’m probably going to print one of the images for wall display.
It’s a current article of faith that people who occupy the Master’s chair once are very likely to wind up there again. I served two years in the East of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge (now Norumbega Fraternity Lodge) in Newton, Massachusetts, and six years later was elected to preside over Mount Hollis Lodge in Holliston. I just finished a second tour of duty with Mount Hollis.
Thanks to Wor. Scott, I can now proudly wear the pin pictured above – which represents the cyclical nature of the Master’s chair these days. Still, I guess it’s better than stuffing old Past Masters into landfills.
Today is December 7, 2006; sixty-five years ago today the United States and the British Empire were suddenly attacked at Pearl Harbor, Guam, the Phillippines, and various other places in Asia. Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i was the most dramatic for citizens of the United States, as it resulted in the destruction of the USS Arizona, sent to the bottom of the harbor when its magazine exploded. 1,300 crewmen died with that vessel.
I call my readers’ attention to this event not to stir up any animus against the attackers. There are fewer and fewer survivors of that event each year; a few hundred of them are assembled right now at Pearl Harbor in solemn commemoration. They are American heroes, as are those who, due to the attack or the war that followed, gave the last full measure of their loyalty to their country – as are those who have gone to the Undiscovered Country since.
Seventeen years ago my wife and I were in Hawai’i to visit her parents; we rose in the predawn to drive to Pearl, and waited almost two hours to visit the Arizona Memorial. We spent a few hours in that structure, built over the remains of the battleship. The ship is still there, as are those who perished in it. Their names are inscribed on the walls of the building. It was a difficult, emotional thing to do; I may not ever visit again, but I will never forget being there.
The Arizona survivors had – still have – the right to be cremated and buried aboard the ship; there are only a few dozen left. The ship is starting to show signs of age: fuel oil still leaks from it – I could see that in ‘89 – and rust and aging have helped encourage the creation of a preservation foundation to keep the Memorial functioning for future generations.
Remembering Pearl Harbor is not about the conflict that was fought. Visiting Pearl for me (and, I expect, for the hundreds of veterans who watched the “Missing Man” formation and heard the sound of the ship’s whistle this afternoon) brought forth no anger or resentment, no desire for revenge. All of the Second World War took place long, long before I was born. What it reminds us is that many people served, and many of them died, to preserve my country against its enemies.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words:
The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation . . . But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
As I prize my citizenship and love my country, even when I am not completely proud of its policies foreign or domestic, I can think of nothing more valuable to honor and remember this day and every day. We must continue to be ready to defend ourselves against attacks such as the one commemorated by the Arizona Memorial.