I have been to Pearl Harbor twice and the USS Arizona memorial and Punch Bowl cemetery never stop to stir me. While I have read about it, visited it and stood above where so many men lost their lives, it took the book The USS Arizona Men 75th Anniversary to bring the individuals who sailed, fought and died on this ship to life. T.J. Cooper (Claudia J. Thedens) Ms. Cooper’s website tells a bit about her. “T . J. Cooper was born in 1951 in South Dakota. She grew up listening to her dad talk about World War II and the Korean War. A genealogy researcher for more than 30 years and an avid World War II history buff, she grew frustrated by the lack of military records on men who served their country so valiantly. She compiled individual military records and founded the website MyVeteranFamily.com as a searchable database. ”
About her book she states, “The USS Arizona Men 75th Anniversary contains information on the attack at Pearl Harbor and detailed information on the men we lost. It also contains true stories from the people who were actually there and experienced it first hand.”
From the book I learned some fascinating, yet sad facts. Did you know that there were 35 sets of brothers, one father and son and numerous cousins on the USS Arizona during the attack on December 7, 1941? I didn’t. There are many things I didn’t know and I am learning as I read through the history of the attack and the story of the ship itself. I can only read through a few details of those that lost their lives a few at a time. I am so thankful for those that gave their lives for me and sad that so many were so young. My father was in the Korean War, but was stationed in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. He was a Navy man and was born in 1932, so not that many years separated him from those serving on the USS Arizona. How many children never knew their father? How many wives, mothers and fathers, sister, brothers and friends lost loved ones on that December Day? Too many.
Cooper stated, “I wanted to research each of the servicemen’s lives and compile a memorial written just for them. There’s plenty of books out there about their ship, the Pearl Harbor Attacks and even the myriad of conspiracy theories surrounding it – but nothing that asks readers to simply sit down, learn about the men onboard the USS Arizona, and honor their sacrifice. Believe me, these men were far more than a list.”
T.J. Cooper has taken the time that these men deserved to bring their stories, their lives to life. Kudos to her for such a wonderful piece of craftsmanship and thanks to her for compiling the story behind the ship for the rest of the world to know. God Bless those that were that served on the Arizona and their families. God Bless both those that passed and those that survived the attack that thrust the US into World War II as President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated about the attack, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy…”
There were 1512 men on board and the 75th anniversary of the attack is coming up this December 2016. What better way to remember the day than reading The USS Arizona Men 75th Anniversary. If you are planning a trip, especially a visit to a war historical site, this is a great book to take along while traveling. For more information, log onto www.tjcooperbooks.com. The book is also available on Amazon.