In remembrance of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, 74 years ago today, two veterans of the conflict– former enemies, poured whisky in the waters over the battleship Arizona.
The canteen, full of American (bourbon) whisky, was recovered from the wreckage of two B-29 bombers that collided over Shizuoka, Japan, in 1945. For the last 20 years, Dr. Hiroya Sugano, caretaker of the flame-kissed GI canteen, wets the rocks at the shrine of the 23 American aircrewmen buried at Shizuoka and then travels to Hawaii to pour a shot for the souls still entombed on the USS Arizona, where 1,177 sailors and Marines died on Dec. 7, 1941.
This year the canteen was poured by retired U.S. Army Air Force Col. Jack DeTour, 92, and Imperial Japanese Navy zero pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, who served on opposing sides during the war.
Daniel Martinez, USS Arizona Memorial chief historian, said the ceremony is one of continued reconciliation.
“The whiskey is really the water of life,” Martinez said. “For the Japanese, the highest honor is to pour whiskey, American whiskey, as a part of home. To pour it on the stone that’s in Shizuoka and here at the USS Arizona Memorial, as it falls into the water it’s a way of extending the hand of friendship, forgiveness and peace.”