Those of us who have visited Pearl Harbor and have stood over what remains of the USS Arizona, knowing that brave citizens of our country who fought and died on December 7, 1941, were entombed therein from that moment, understand lessons that must not be repeated.
There must be armed force in readiness. Warning signals cannot be ignored. The price that we pay for failure to heed this, in the presence of predators predisposed to attack, is death.
Those who would argue that Second Amendment provisions are meaningless in the time of 21st century weaponry all said the same about 20th century weaponry. Of the 29 Japanese planes destroyed during the multi-pronged air raid that has become known simply as "Pearl Harbor" by those of us who weren't alive when it happened, a significant number were neutralized by small-arms fire from the ground.
We are reminded that from the late 1930s on, England begged Americans to send handguns, rifles and shotguns "to guard British shores" against the Nazi invasion that seemed imminent. When the invasion by the Japanese was literally upon our Hawaiian citizens of the United States, they found their firearms to be a most comforting presence.
An epilog belongs here. We all know that the events of December 7, 1941, did indeed "awaken a sleeping giant and fill it with a terrible resolve." The United States swept to its revenge very shortly thereafter, beginning with the Battle of Midway and culminating with the nuclear firestorms that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
But, for many, one question remained: When the Pacific Fleet lay in ruins in Pearl Harbor, with the West Coast of the United States unprepared for battle, why did the Imperial Japanese forces simply not invade the mainland?
Fifteen years after Japan's unconditional surrender, that very question was asked. By 1960, what was then known as the Japanese Defense Forces were allied with the United States against the Communist Bloc, and naval forces of both nations met in the Pacific for a conference aboard the USS Constellation, Most of the senior officers on both sides were veterans of World War II, and in the natural way of the men who fought the battles discussing it after cessation of hostilities, they felt a grudging and honest mutual admiration and were frank with one another.
A friend of mine was there, Commander Robert Menard of the U.S. Navy. When the question of, "Why did you not invade" was asked, he would never forget the answer.
A senior member of the Japanese Navy looked at the man who had raised the issue with an expression on his face like someone who had caught another person asking a trick question. Yes, the Japanese commander replied, his people did indeed have intelligence on the matter and had explored the question in depth. They had determined that more than half of American homes contained firearms.
They had been shocked to discover that the United States still had state and national championships of military rifle shooting for private citizens. They had invaded disarmed countries like China with smooth success and had worked out the scenarios of what the death toll to them and their kind would have been like if the victims had been able to shoot back.
Menard never forgot what the Japanese navy man told him then, and I in turn will not be able to forget them: "We were not fools, to step into such quicksand."
His research had been valid. So had his assessment. Perhaps he had read the account of one of his own lieutenants, Yoshio Shiga, speaking in awe of the courage of the American Marine who had stood on the ground and fired his Colt .45 automatic in the face of the oncoming Japanese fighter plane and its blazing machine guns.
Lt. Shiga had seen it in our servicemen, and in his last instant on earth Shigenori Nishikaichi had seen it in the face of the American civilian who killed him with his bare hands.
It is sad that, only 60 years after the sacrifices of so many at Pearl Harbor, a generation of Americans has arisen that wishes to disarm its brothers. Sad. And contrary to the documented lessons of something that, in perspective, is very recent history."
RESTORE THE REPUBLIC!
R.W. "D1ck" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952- (Plt #437PISC)-'72
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