© Miri WTPOTUS December 7, 2012
Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Today we commemorate the “date which will live in infamy.” And so it does and so it shall.
A column published today recounts the story of Art Clymer, a boiler technician on the USS Chew–a World War I-era destroyer that was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Mr. Clymer was in the bowels of his ship when he heard the first sounds of the Japanese attack. Here’s how this boiler technician responded, after he arrived on deck: [emphasis added]
He saw Japanese planes. Lots of them.
The Chew had a 3-inch gun. That is, it fired 3-inch projectiles.
“Can you handle this gun?” an officer shouted toward Art.
Art was a boiler tech, but he figured if somebody was shooting at him, he could handle the gun.
But there was another problem. The 3-inch rounds had fuses and they were sealed. There was a setting tool somewhere to take off the seals, but Art had no idea where it was. He started yanking those seals off with his teeth, much like he used to open beer bottles with his teeth back home. Who’d have thought that trick would come in handy?
All this was happening in the middle of mayhem, with the Japanese planes so low that Art could see the faces of the pilots.
In a sense, that was a good thing. “I could throw a potato higher than that gun could shoot,” he would say years later.
But it shot straight. In the official after-action report, the Chew’s 3-inch gun was credited with three hits. One direct hit disintegrated a plane in midair, a second demolished a plane’s tail assembly.
Art Clymer became an American hero: A boiler mate who shot down at least two Japanese planes, saving who knows how many lives.
Mr. Clymer survived and went on to marry the love of his life and raise two children. He’s what is best of America. This member of the Greatest Generation rose to the occasion and did what had to be done, improvising and learning as he went, drawing upon his experience and getting the job done.
How many other unsung American heroes are there? Too many to count. They are what is best of America.
Mr. Clymer’s story brings to mind another American hero whose story was printed recently: Tyrone Woods, who died at the U.S. “mission” in Benghazi:
Tyrone Woods, 41, was found “slumped over his machine gun, which was caked with blood,” Charles Woods, the former SEAL’s father, said during a telephone interview from his home in Hawaii.
“He had continued to fire until he had no blood left and was unable to fire anymore,” Mr. Woods said. …
Woods was on the roof of the mission, as mortar rounds slammed into the building:
“The first one was well short of the building, the second and third landed in front of the building, and the fourth one went up and landed on the roof,” Mr. Woods said. “That’s what killed Ty.”
The round slammed into the roof where the former SEAL was positioned, and “I was told that if it had been a heavier round, it would have gone through the roof and exploded inside the building where 30 or so Americans were being protected by Ty and by Glen,” he said.
Noting that Tyrone Woods left behind “a newborn baby and a beautiful wife,” Mr. Woods said his son was “a hero who was willing to sacrifice his life.”
The parents of Tyrone Woods still do not know why their son had to die. They still don’t know why no order to “fire” was given by this president after Tyrone Woods called out the coordinates of the mortar that eventually took his life and the life of Glen Doherty.
Woods gave his life doing what had to be done to save the lives of others. Woods and Doherty were lost in a long war that bears some resemblance to the war in which Art Clymer fought.
During World War II, the Japanese sent “kamikaze pilots” on suicide missions. They, like the Islamist suicide bombers of today, were religiously inspired. The word kamikaze means, “God wind” or “Divine wind.”
In 1944–45, the Japanese were heavily influenced by Shinto beliefs. Among other things, Emperor worship was stressed after Shinto was established as a state religion during the Meiji Restoration. As time went on, Shinto was used increasingly in the promotion of nationalist sentiment. In 1890, the Imperial Rescript on Education was passed, under which students were required to ritually recite its oath to offer themselves “courageously to the State” as well as protect the Imperial family. The ultimate offering was to give up one’s life. It was an honour to die for Japan and the Emperor. … “The fact is that innumerable soldiers, sailors and pilots were determined to die, to become eirei, that is ‘guardian spirits’ of the country. … Young Japanese people were indoctrinated from an earliest age with these ideals.
Today, Islam is the state religion of many countries. Islam has always been used for nationalistic purposes. In fact, that is Islam’s raison de etre. Students are indoctrinated with the tenets of radical Islam in madrassas all around the world. Instead of becoming guardian spirits of their countries, today’s Islamic suicide killers believe that they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in a Muslim paradise.
Woods and Doherty, as well as Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, gave their lives in a war that began on another date that lives in INFAMY: September 11, 2001. Thousands of others have lost their lives in this war against radical Islam, among them the more than 3000 murdered in cold blood on 9/11.
Today we remember those who died at Pearl Harbor. As we honor them, we should also remember and honor all who have served, especially those who gave their lives so that we may remain free.