World War II veterans Mana Hongo (left)
and Warren Iwai look through graves at the National Memorial Cemetary of
the Pacific in Honolulu. Many of the gravesites for men killed in the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are marked "UNKNOWN," a cause of concern
for some historians and veterans.
The 'generic' type of marker
replaced the Navy markers on the remains of the 647 remains that
were mingled and reinterred into 252 plots.
HISTORIANS WANT GRAVES MARKED
Two tragedies occurred with the sneak attack of the Japanese
on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941.
One tragedy was the claiming of the lives of more than
2,300 servicemen. The second tragedy unfolded in the treatment
of the remains of hundreds of men in the past 60-plus years.
Lorraine Marks-Haislip, historian and congressional
lobbyist for the U.S.S. Arizona, has spent thousands of hours
and more than a decade fighting to correct a wrong done to Pearl
Harbor's unidentified dead.
The first markers showed respect.
Burns, blasts and decomposition made it impossible at the
time to identify 647 men among the Navy and Marine Corps dead.
Initially buried by the Navy under white crosses that
marked their ship and date of death, the 647 human remains were
reinterred in 1949 and mingled in 252 gravesites in the National
Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Many of the gravesites, in the crater of a dormant volcano
known as the Punchbowl, were simply marked "UNKNOWN."
CHRISTMAS EVE DENOTES VICTORY!- 1943
All signs point to Victory. On Christmas Eve, 1943, in the
moonlit Hawaiian sky above Honolulu, there appeared a beautiful
It's a lucky sign, the old-time Hawaiians agree.
They recall stories their Fathers and their Grandfathers
told them. A rainbow always is a sign of Luck -- and Victory. A
Lunar Rainbow is, particularly a good omen. In the old days when
the Hawaiians saw a Lunar Rainbow, they would go "auwana"
(wandering about)--fishing, looking for food, or attending to
business--with the assurance of success that the Rainbow
Thus it was that when the Lunar Rainbow appeared Christmas
Eve, the Hawaiians were quietly happy, more particularly when
someone noticed that the Rainbow formed and arch above the
Galaxy of Stars that make a large "V".
Copyright © 2002-2015 Lorraine Marks-Haislip