On Wednesday, December 7, 2005, the sixty-fourth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Northrop Grumman Chairman, CEO and President Ronald D. Sugar addressed the Pearl Harbor Memorial ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center in Hawaii. Below are his delivered remarks.
Pearl Harbor Anniversary
Thank you Senator Inouye, both for your introduction, and for your lifetime of service to our nation.
I am honored and privileged to be here, and to be the National Chairman of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund.
This is hallowed ground. And these are hallowed waters.
America’s role in the world’s most desperate trial began here, sixty-four years ago, with the loss of almost 2,400 Americans. The ship that lends its name to their memorial has become one with these waters and with the more than 900 men entombed inside her.
No architect could design a more fitting feature into any war memorial than the fact that this memorial still bleeds for those it honors. The oil that rises to the surface from the gallant Arizona coats the flowers, wreaths and leis that pilgrims drop daily into these waters – symbols of gratitude and remembrance.
On this day each year, we reflect on the sacrifice of those who died here. All who perish in their nation’s defense deserve that their sacrifice be redeemed. And so it has been for those who died on December 7th.
The survivors of that day did so most profoundly by helping to win the war that began here. Some of them are among us today. We thank you.
But redeeming such sacrifice is a perpetual obligation and continues long after the guns fall silent. It is performed in many ways: Each time our nation faces down a dangerous threat; each time a young American dons the uniform and pledges to defend the Constitution; each time our nation demonstrates preparedness in peace.
America’s first shots of the war were fired that day by citizens who embodied that code of preparedness.
They were the crew of the USS Ward – reservists from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Like countless reservists before them and after, they were there at the start, they hit their target, and they saw the ordeal through to the end.
In so doing, they redeemed the sacrifice of all those who perished before them in other wars and other times. And they upheld the traditions of America’s reservists that began on the greens of Lexington and Concord.
The shipmates of those who died that day have worked long and hard to keep their memories alive, and we thank them for it. The flowers that float amidst the Arizona’s oil remind us that we, too, have a role in redeeming the sacrifices made here. We, too, must remember.
And we must help others remember as well. This is the mission of facilities like this visitor center, and it is the justification for the new and bigger visitor center soon to come – a center that will beckon new generations of pilgrims to this national shrine.