Friday, January 08, 2010

Oil Tears

Boat, the woman said to her small toddler she was holding. See that? It's a boat...

I've been to many war memorials, having grown up with two great aunts who were members of the Daughters of the Confederacy and lived in Lynchburg, Virginia. But I have never heard something that made me as profoundly sad as a young mother pointing to the wreckage of the Arizona battleship in Pearl Harbor.

Boat? Not really anymore. Try graveyard. Try 1,177 dead men lying just below our feet.

I leaned over the railing and watched the small bubbles of oil come to the surface. Two quarts a day, they say, still rise from the ship. The sailors who survived say it's the tears of their fallen shipmates. That when the last survivor dies, oil will stop leaking. No attempt to clean it up will happen as it would disturb what is clearly a tomb.


I was stunned by the indifference, the laughter and the chatting at the memorial. Maybe I was raised differently, maybe all those battlegrounds I visited as a small child, mostly just fields, described in hushed voices made me more sensitive to the countless lives lost.

We were the greatest nation in the greatest war, most say of WWII. The truth is, we avoided entering the conflict as long as possible. The truth is, we fought Japan over natural resources- and they attacked us because we cut off their oil supply. Even as they slaughtered people in China, we sent them oil. It wasn't until the Pacific islands came into question- rich with resources- did we get nervous.

There are some who say we knew about the concentration camps and turned a blind eye, not willing to enter the fight.

We are still at war over oil. Watching the small bubbles expand into a hue of bright colors on the water, I wondered what we have learned. Nine years into a war, what have we learned? We can say we care about Afghan's women and girls, Iraq's democracy but it's all bullshit.

We care about the oil.

On the back of each ticket for the Arizona memorial, there is a serviceman, his picture and his story on the day of the attack. How will we remember the men and women who have lost their lives in this war? Where will their stories be told?

Or have we gone so numb we point to a grave and say, "Boat" to our children?


Anonymous Morgan said...


10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a toddler, Sara. Give the mother a break! But, I do see your point and the bigger picture. Nice piece.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

Anonymous, to your point: a toddler wouldn't really understand that the thing underwater spewing oil is a boat.

This is an excellent post, Sara. Can I link to you?

11:45 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

of course sue!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

and anon, I was taught from that very same age to be quiet and respectful at war memorials. no one cheerfully pointed out anything at the civil war battlefields.

and it really isn't a boat anymore.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

well said sara!

6:06 AM  
Blogger Denita said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

4:27 AM  
Blogger dong dong23 said...

air jordans
burberry outlet online
michael kors outlet online
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
timberland boots
louis vuitton handbags
basketball shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
nike store
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet online
nike nfl jerseys
coach factory outlet
nike air force 1
fake watches
ed hardy clothing
tiffany jewelry
louis vuitton outlet
air jordan pas cher
cheap oakley sunglasses
jordan shoes
christian louboutin outlet
celine handbags
christian louboutin outlet
adidas shoes
oakley outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
louis vuitton outlet
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet
nike air max 90
coach factory outlet
cheap toms shoes
timberland outlet
coach outlet
ralph lauren polo
coach outlet
jordan 4 toro

4:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home