World War II

Commemorations are getting underway in Honolulu to mark next week’s 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Now, a new unnarrated documentary that premieres Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel aims to tell the story of the strike on Dec. 7, 1941, through film recordings and radio news reports — some that have rarely been seen or heard in decades.

Filmmaker Mel Gibson has two obsessions: grisly violence and martyrdom. Hacksaw Ridge, his new World War II film, splits its 140 minutes between the two of them almost 50-50 (or 70-70). It's good, in a sturdy, muted, unsurprising way.

World War II pilot Elaine Harmon, who died last year at the age of 95, wanted to be laid to rest with her fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on Wednesday, Harmon's wish was fulfilled — thanks to a dedicated effort by her family and a law passed by Congress.

Harmon was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of female pilots who flew military planes in noncombat missions in order to free up male pilots for fighting.

A group of about 50 people gathered in late June in the sunny courtyard of the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux, France. It was from here in 1939 and 1940 that Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches issued approximately 30,000 visas to Jews and other stateless refugees.

Lissy Jarvik, who lives today in California, was one of them.

"I was a recipient of a Sousa Mendes visa," she tells the group. "Otherwise I wouldn't be here. I would've no longer been alive 72 years ago."

Flags in New York City began flying at half-staff Monday, in honor of Roscoe C. Brown. He died Saturday at age 94 and was one of the last few "Red Tail" pilots, a subset of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Airmen were part of a grand experiment in racial integration that the Army reluctantly undertook.

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