Never Forget: December 7, 1941-A Day That Will Live in Infamy

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In an age when it seems that many people respond to any mention of historical events with blank looks, and the really annoying “I don’t know about that. I wasn’t born yet,” as if the world began at the all-important moment of one individual’s birth, it’s important to mention that today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

From The Houston Chronicle: 

On Dec. 6, 1941, Pearl Harbor was an obscure, backwater American naval outpost in the Hawaiian paradise. Following the surprise attack on the morning of Dec. 7 by two waves of Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft, 2,402 Americans were left dead and 1,282 wounded.

All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one, the USS Arizona, were later raised, and six of the eight battleships returned to service and fought in the war.

The murderous incident instantly put this country on a war footing that has rightly become the stuff of national legend.

With “Remember Pearl Harbor” as its battle cry, the American nation mobilized into a military power that eventually would tilt the Pacific and European theaters of war in favor of this nation and its Allies. Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally on V-E Day, May 8, 1945, and Imperial Japan followed suit less than four months later on V-J Day, Sept. 2, 1945.

To this country’s eternal credit, the terms of the Americn peace for both Japan and Germany were generous and humane. Today, both countries are stable democracies, formidable global economic powers and reliable U.S. allies.

 

Pearl Harbor happened at a time when the United States had retreated into isolationism, allowing the forces of evil to rise unchallenged. In the “lead from behind” age of Obama, we appear to be in a similar time. Let’s hope we don’t end up with a similar result.

Pearl Harbor Still Resonates 71 Years Later

I’ll never forget our visit to Pearl Harbor. That visit was memorable in every way, not only because it was our first trip to Hawaii. Of course, we would go at least once a year if we could get US taxpayers to pay for it like certain families, but that’s another story. Still, one aspect of that visit to Pearl Harbor stands out even today, years later. I was unprepared by how moved I would be standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Arizona. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what happened there. You know how thoroughly disgusted I am when I hear morons, usually under 25 years old, say “Oh I’ve never heard of that. I wasn’t born yet.” My standard response is “I wasn’t born in 1863, and I’ve heard of Gettysburg.” If I get a blank stare, I tell the ignoramus to stop playing Angry Birds and use his mobile device to look it up. It starts with a “G.”

It was on that trip that I realized the difference between knowing a fact and experiencing a fact. I was unprepared for being smacked with the reality of the 1177 American casualties, nearly half on the Arizona, who were lying below in watery graves. Of course, you, a subscriber to this newsletter, and therefore at least 2 standard deviations above the mean on the information and intelligence scale, know about Pearl Harbor, but if you show this piece to one of those afore-mentioned wet-behind-the-ears, low-information types, I’ll save that lucky recipient a few clicks. This is the U.S.S. Arizona during the attack, which happened 71 years ago today.

The U.S.S. Arizona, December 7, 1941

Today, as we recall the sacrifices made by previous generations that allow us to live in freedom for a little longer, sacrifices so enormous that they nearly defy description, I will have members of our military in prayers as I do every day. I will say an extra prayer for the heroes lost on that horrible day.

Check out this amazing first hand report of the Pearl Harbor attack written in December, 1941, but published for the first time yesterday. Elizabeth McIntosh, the reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin who wrote the piece, was told by her editor that her piece was too graphic. It is beautifully written, and there is a very cool photo of her interviewing a sailor back in the day. Now, 97 years old, she must marvel at how our country has changed during her lifetime.