Midway Between War and Renewal
by Noah Chesnin -- February 7th, 2012
“They had no right to win. Yet they did, and in doing so they changed the course of a war…Even against the greatest of odds, there is something in the human spirit – a magic blend of skill, faith and valor – that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory.” —Walter Lord
The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was chosen as a “national priority for permanent protection as a Monument for its unique and significant confluence of conservation, ecological, historical, scientific, educational, and Native Hawaiian cultural qualities.” (Management Plan, Dec. 2008).
This video explores the relationship between protecting the historic WWII resources and the avian biodiversity within the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and in particular, on Sand Island. The Battle of Midway, from June 4th through 7th in 1942, represents the last battle on US soil. As such, the Atoll has much to teach us about the legacy of war on the environment. After nearly 70 years, the wildlife is starting to return to Midway Atoll. As the US Fish and Wildlife Service manages the Wildlife Refuge to conserve the natural resources, it must also honor and protect this significant WWII battle site.
The unique history of this Refuge can draw people to learn about the natural history and abundant biodiversity in the Monument. In many ways, the compelling story of the brave men of Midway is reflected in the struggle of wildlife to return to this remote Atoll. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, but with the strongest protections, the federal government can lift endangered species “from certain defeat to incredible victory.”