Friday, July 30, 2010

Let Us Always Remember

It’s July 30, 1945. You are a sailor on board the USS Indianapolis.

You have just delivered parts for the atomic bomb to the US Air Base in Tinian and are steaming out in the open and deep waters of the Pacific. It’s 12:14 a.m. and you feel and hear an explosion. Two Japanese torpedoes have ripped through the vessel. Somehow, you have survived, but, now you are facing another challenge: staying alive in the shark-infested waters of the Pacific Ocean while dealing with the death all around you for nearly five days.

The above survivor’s story is imagined, but you can read the real thing here. It’s the story of Woody Eugene James, and it’s harrowing, gut wrenching, and remarkable all at once.

In all, 317 men out of the original 1,196 aboard survived. Over 880 went into the water, but many died due to injury, exposure, and sharks.

Today, about 26 remaining survivors are expected to gather here in our city to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. All totaled up, about 58 survivors are believed to be still living, according to news reports. More and more of our Greatest Generation veterans are passing on. Each passing year brings fewer and fewer veterans to events commemorating World War II. However you feel about war, the important thing is to honor the sacrifice these men made for their country and the sacrifices fighting men and women are making today.

I honor the survivors and those that did not survive the sinking USS Indianapolis on this solemn 65th anniversary. Some who claim they are not heroes. They are too humble. Let me assure you, you are more!

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