Senator Jacobsen reflects on terrorism

Just as terrorists held the United States in their grasp, Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, spent Tuesday morning speaking with Pearl Harbor survivors at Grandma Hattie's restaurant.

"It is a sad situation," Jacobsen said softly.

"I was truly as shocked as everyone else. It is sad it can happen in our great country, which offers freedom and opportunity for everyone."

Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were compared to the only other attack in modern history on the U.S. - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941.

"At this point, I have not had an opportunity to learn all the details or who the perpetrators are. I'd have a hard time saying what they were after," Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen said freedom is precious.

"More security is needed especially in travel today," added Jacobsen. "I hate to see that, because we're used to being able to go where we want to go, see what we want to see and do what we want to do. It's important to all of us."

The morning attacks were the topic of conversation at the gathering of the Pearl Harbor survivors. Individuals spoke among themselves of the events and agreed with Jacobsen what a sad day it was for all Americans.

"To hurt innocent people like this ... you hope no Americans would be a part of the tragedy," said Jacobsen.

With a terrorist attack, he said, there is no can guarantee the responsible people will ever be identified.

"Are you ready to go back (to action)?" fellow Pearl Harbor survivor Don Sjoblom, 80, asked of Jacobsen.

"I'm 80 years old," said Jacobsen. "But I'd be willing to go."

Sjoblom, wearing a cap embroidered with the words "Pearl Harbor Survivor," said the military should have made a parking lot of Baghdad years ago.

"When I visit schools and younger people, they ask me, 'How does it feel to kill someone?' " said Jacobsen. "And I tell them sometimes you don't have a choice. It's either kill or be killed.

"Pearl Harbor is a memory you won't ever forget. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, from a nightmare of sorts, about Pearl Harbor.

"Now I've become more concerned for everyone around me, my family and friends. At war, your concern is for yourself - to survive."

Jacobsen said the United States has made itself vulnerable because everyone is invited to be a part of the freedom.

"Years ago, race, creed and color were obvious. Today, our concern is - who is the enemy? Hopefully, it's without our borders. It's foreign countries.

"It makes me sick to think about it."

Jacobsen joined the U.S. Navy in 1939 and was enlisted for seven years. He was stationed on Bouganville in the Pacific Islands, which was home to 20,000 Japanese at the time.

"We took out the Japanese commander when he came to visit his own troops," said Jacobsen. "My commanding officer jumped on the plane and said, 'Take him out or don't come home.'

"We (the U.S.), have to be more firm. A lot of people died today who didn't have a choice. Our freedom is never free. In this case, someone in our society has given their life, which was totally uncalled for."

"There's a bunch of sick people in this world," commented Dorothy Taillon of Reno, who was attending the meeting.

"It's too bad we can't all get a long. There's too much hatred in this world. It's the innocent who are the one's who suffer," she said.

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