They say the small trickle of oil which still rises from the wreck of the USS Arizona are the tears of its lost crew. The distance between December 7, 1941 and today is just 10 years short of the gap between that day and the end of the Civil War. The light streaming from the memory of that generation has faded to the dimmest of glows. It no longer casts a shadow; we no longer feel the tears. Today some of their descendants are more concerned with the threat posed by the Arizona's two quarts of oil per day to the environment than to recalling the danger the ship itself helped guard against so long ago.
We are sweeping the attic of memory. The old black and white photos have given way to sentimental Ataris the way the blue kepis once yielded to the Victrolas. The time, even of the Arizona's ghosts, is ending now. Some of us still keep watch by night for the few that come, never knowing if they will be the last. And upon a time we will wait, the cup of coffee in its customary place, sitting where we have always sat, ready to listen to the old stories; and they will not come again.