One Day In History
Seventy-two years ago today, it was a typical sleepy Sunday morning in Hawaii. A little after 8 AM Pearl Harbor was just waking up, with some people at breakfast, some attending church and others already on the tennis court or out for a morning jog. Sailors on ships of the U.S. Pacific fleet were raising our flag, swabbing a deck or just basking in the warmth of the sun.
Suddenly, without warning or provocation, Imperial naval forces of The Japanese Empire unleashed a cowardly and dastardly attack … killing nearly 2,500 military and civilians, in and around the American Navy base on the island of Oahu. It was a day that President Roosevelt declared will “live in infamy” and which marked the official entry of The United States into World War II. Pearl Harbor represented the first time American soil had ever been violated by a foreign power. It was a day that would be marked annually and never forgotten … apparently until today!
Today I did not see a single media story about this horrific event and barely an ‘honorable mention’ on the TV news. Every channel, every newspaper, every headline was consumed with the death of Nelson Mandela. I ‘get it’ that he was a great and courageous leader in Africa, and an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere … but to me, the events of December 7th 1941 trump any one life, Mandela’s or anyone else’s. Pearl Harbor cost close to 2,500 lives as well as the millions that would eventually be sacrificed as a result of that day. It is an AMERICAN tragedy of epoch proportions that must never be forgotten! It seems that all of our traditions and celebrations, our past deeds and accomplishments are either under attack from within or are being conveniently misplaced!
Surely, as Americans, we can take time out from a single day to commemorate such a significant piece of human history … and to focus on reclaiming our exceptional past from those who daily threaten our future, much as the Japanese Empire threatened our nation in 1941, only to awaken “a sleeping giant.”