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8 December 2006
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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - One by one, Death sized up the aging survivors from ships sunk 65 years ago Thursday in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and cackled about finishing the job the Japanese began all those years ago.
"Survivors," Death commented as a dry smile stretched across his skeletal visage. "Temporary, at most. One by one, I shall soon embrace all of those who first avoided my grasp. All of their efforts will amount to nothing. Eventually they shall disappear from all memory, becoming mere areas of light and dark on fading photographs."
Nearly 500 survivors bowed their heads at 7:55 a.m., the minute planes began bombing the harbor in a surprise attack that thrust the United States into World War II.
"America in an instant became the land of the indivisible, except of course for the Japs we forced into camps," said former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, vet ass-kisser and the author of "The Greatest Generation," who joined Death at the shoreside ceremonies.
The veterans, most mere haggard, rotting shells of their former selves, were honored with prolonged applause at the solemn ceremony near where some of the ships remain decaying and moss-covered under the harbor's waters, as they shall soon be in their graves.
Many treated the gathering as their last, correct in their assumptions that they would not be alive or healthy enough to travel to Hawaii for the next big memorial ceremony, the 70th anniversary.
A priest gave a Hawaiian blessing and Marines performed a rifle salute. For many it will be their last return to the World War II attack site.
"I am the embodiment of patience," noted Death. "I can wait 70 years, or 700. Weep not, for it is useless. All will be mine in time. All great works and ideas and loves will be proven folly by me."