One of the most poignant parts of today’s ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was news that the Pearl Harbor survivor group will go out of business at the end of the year.

Pearl Harbor
Battleships Arizona, West Virginia and Tennessee under attack.
More than anything else, the break-up of the Pearl Harbor Association marks the passing of the “Greatest Generation” that survived both the Great Depression and WWII.

William Muehleib, president of the PHA, cited age and poor health among its 2,700 members as reasons for disbanding the group. Only 120 survivors were able to attend the ceremony today in Hawaii.

The end of the PHA begs the question: Who will carry the message of Pearl Harbor to future generations?

During the 1960s, my grammar school solemnly marked the anniversary of Pearl Harbor each year. I can’t say the same for the schools that my kids attended. They only have a vague notion of the meaning of Pearl Harbor.

The Navy, to its credit, has assembled an impressive Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary online tribute to honor the dozen ships lost, 2,335 dead sailors/marines/soldiers and 68 civilian casualties.

The images of the burning battleships on the Navy’s site have the same emotional impact as the horrific photos of the burning World Trade Center, where 2,747 people were killed. New York City’s medical examiner’s office is still identifying remains from that terror attack.

The other big question: Will America remember 9/11 seventy years from now?