Sunday, August 02, 2009
At Anchorage for Rememberance
The U.S.S. Alabama was built for a war that began 68 years ago. She was launched as one of the fast battleships of the South Dakota Class which included the South Dakota, Alabama, Indiana and Massachusetts. As the Japanese proved conclusively at Pearl Harbor and other places in December of 1941 the battleship as a design was being replaced by the aircraft carrier. During the Second World War these ships provided fast cover for the US carrier tasks forces which early in the war may have at times counted one or two operational carriers and in the end counted near 100. The battleship's days were numbered and after the war gallant ships were scrapped one after another. Only a few survive today, thanks to citizens of the States they were named for. Texas, Alabama, North Carolina and Massachusetts organized grass roots efforts to purchase and display their battleships. The ships of the Iowa class, America's largest and finest, were retired only recently. The Missouri sits in Pearl Harbor Hawaii next to the sunken Arizona. The Iowa is still in mothballs awaiting a home. The Wisconsin and New Jersey are on display on the East Coast. As far as I know no other battleships survive afloat in the world, their massive guns forever silent. Ships with names like Warspite, King George V, Nagato, Richleau cut up by the scrappers torch.
We have a duty as a freedom loving people to preserve our history. In a time of recession and/or depression it is easy to cut funding for our history, parks, and infrastructure. Our children do not care any more and I fear in a few years important elements of our history will disappear. Only these photos will remain and each of these digital files will rot out of existence if we are not careful and print our photos for non digital preservation.
Please consider teaching your children about history, for many of us it means we have to develop an interest in it and learn about it. Please print your best pictures, especially the ones that capture important moments in your families history. Digital images are wonderful but fleeting. They can disappear as fast as a heartbeat with a hard disk crash or a change in file formats. How much did you have saved on 5.25 inch floppies which can no longer be used by most of us. Have you heard of CD rot? Most CD's and DVD's only have a limited life. Will software be available to read this information 10 years from now if they can be read at all?
Remember you are responsible for history. Our grandparents captured it through Kodak pictures and letter's saved and journals kept. What will our grandchildren have to remember us by?