Cumberland County’s Dr. Arthur John Lendo will speak for the second straight year at the Pearl Harbor Commemoration Ceremony in Honolulu this week.
Lendo said the attacks on Pearl Harbor are a largely forgotten moment in history. His presentation “The Cost of Freedom is High” aims to remind people of the impact of December 7, 1941.
“I’m sorry to say that my sense is, especially among younger people, I don’t sense any impact of that day anymore,” Lendo said. “That is very unfortunate because the lessons of that day are very important.”
Lendo had three uncles who experienced extensive combat in World War II. Lendo said being at the site where his uncles fought for their country is very powerful. Lendo said he would talk about the impact Pearl Harbor and the war itself had on families.
“My generation of Americans, many of us were named after family members who served so heroically in World War II,” Lendo said. “I was named after my uncle Arthur and my uncle John. Miraculously, my uncle Art came home. Sadly, my uncle John did not, so it’s a family legacy situation.”
Lendo said there is an SBD Douglas Dauntless Dive Bomber at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum that his uncle John was the last person to fly.
Lendo said after traveling all across the country, he wishes he had moved to the Upper Cumberland sooner because of the appreciation he sees for the military. Lendo said before moving here in 2016, he had never seen such an extraordinary number of American flags flying in a community.
“We also see a large number of flags from the very different branches of service, especially the Marine Corps,” Lendo said. “We are very pleased about that and it’s all part of our good feeling about East Tennessee.”
Lendo said during his almost 40 years of working in higher education, he noticed that younger generations know less and less about the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Lendo said speaking at the ceremony is an honor and a great opportunity to teach people about the magnitude of the event and the sacrifices Americans made.