The USS Arizona sunk on December 7, 1941, in less then nine minutes after an armor-piercing bomb from a Japanese war plane penetrated its forward deck and exploded the ship's ammunition store. The surprise attack by the Japanese Air Force and Navy at Pearl Harbor resulted in over 2,000 American souls, including 68 civilians, killed. More than half of the casualties (1,177) were Navy sailors and Marines on the Arizona. Today the National Park Service oversees the memorial over the sunken remains of the battleship Arizona.
On the reverse side is an eight cent Einstein stamp. The message reads: "Greetings -- wonderful trip -- beautiful weather, etc. Waiting now to see Kodiak snow. See you soon -- Love, Ruth"
The composition of the card is unremarkable except that it was obviously taken from a moving boat. You can see the wake of the craft as it pulls away from the monument on a partly sunny day. Many times over the years I've looked at this image and not seen its significance, yet it's mundane image holds a hidden treasure.
The memorial sits over the remains not only of the sunken navy ship Arizona but also over the remains of the men who died on that fateful day. The fact that the photographer took the picture moving away from the memorial, rather than approaching it, speaks to our relationship to all who have died. Though these men are remembered and honored, we must by necessity of time itself move away from them. This is the cruel nature of time itself , let alone our faltering memories.
It is good that there are memorials made of marble. It is also good there are postcards and postcards posted on the Internet. Each saves a valuable memory, at least for a time, from loss.