By FRANK BOYETT
The eldest grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel will come to Henderson on Friday to draw parallels between what happened at the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, and the Pearl Harbor attack that ended in disgrace for the career of the commander of the Pacific Fleet.
He also will be bringing some memorabilia of Admiral Kimmel, which will be put on display at The Depot on the riverfront. Kimmel is coming at the invitation of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society, which is responsible for maintaining the displays at The Depot.
"I'm trying to come up with a few things that would be of interest to the good people of Henderson," Tom Kimmel said from his home in Cocoa Beach, Fla. "I have some pretty interesting photographs and a fore-and-aft cap like Napoleon wore. Some pennants and some flags. That kind of stuff."
Kimmel will speak at Wolf's Convention and Banquet Center beginning at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The public is invited at no charge.
Practically since the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the Kimmel family has been trying to clear the name of the admiral, who was a native of Henderson. The fight still goes on, his grandson said, and holds important implications for current national policy.
"This is an important matter of national honor," said Kimmel, 61, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a retired agent of the FBI. "It's not individual honor or family honor. There are interesting parallels between the 9-11 attack and Pearl Harbor."
"The parallel is frightening," he told Fred L. Schultz of "Naval History" last year. "By declining to determine true accountability for the disaster at Pearl Harbor, an entire parade of administrations may have laid the groundwork for the success of the 9-11 attack. And now, those same dynamics, which block accountability for the 9-11 disaster, may unwittingly lay the foundation for the next attack."
Failing to learn from those mistakes, he told The Gleaner, "dooms us, because we have repeated the errors."
In a nutshell, throughout a number of inquiries into the Pearl Harbor attack, the Kimmel family has maintained that Admiral Kimmel was blameless because he was not provided with crucial information he needed to do his job.
More recently, Tom Kimmel said, the White House has refused to vindicate the admiral, even though that action has been recommended by Congress.
"The salient points are that the Congress of the United States in 2000 passed a law recommending the president of the United States advance Rear Adm. Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter Short (the Army commander in Hawaii) to their highest ranks in World War II."
That law was passed and signed by President Bill Clinton, Tom Kimmel said, but "he did not take the action recommended by Congress.
"The same law and recommendation still applies. But so far President Bush also hasn't opted to follow the recommendation of Congress."