December 7th has passed, and I did not hear mentioned what occurred on that Sunday in 1941 on any radio station, TV station, from any individual, or read about it in any publication or blog I encountered yesterday. I should qualify that report by stating my exposure to all of those sources was quite limited, as were the short intervals of free time I had throughout the day and the evening to encounter, or specifically search for such information. In years past, in the same circumstances, the absence of such mentions would not have been the case, but I am quite confident that surely the topic has been written about and discussed somewhere, perhaps quite extensively and I just didn’t have time to become aware of it.
Maybe the time has come to concentrate our commemoration on Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November each year to honor those lives specifically lost on that fateful December 7th and all veterans. We do not want to forget those individuals, the lessons of that day, or that war, World War II. We want to continue to honor all those who contributed to our countries survival as a nation. We have had no war remotely equivalent to it since, in terms of needing to respond defensively using offensive tactics. The maiming, death, and dying, of course, are always present in all wars. Have we become desensitized to these losses?
Whether or not this anniversary has received attention elsewhere, I was given pause for thought about the day, the significance of the subsequent events, our country and our place in the world. This is the date, when I was just a young child, the history books refer to as “The Day of Infamy” for it was on a 1941 Sunday morning in what is now our state of Hawaii at Pearl Harbor that the United States of America was attacked, beginning our engagement with the forces in the Pacific arena determined to take over our country in World War II, often abbreviated WWII, aka “The Big One.”
These are two of many sites to search for additional information:
Many years later as a young mother in her mid-thirties, long after the end of WWII, I stood on the landing area at Hickam Air Base on the island of Oahu in Hawaii where our Air Force had experienced so much loss that December 7, 1941. I was acutely aware of the ground on which I stood, remembering what happened those many years earlier. I was awaiting the arrival of a young non-military loved one, who might not have been present had his father not survived military service in the Pacific arena during WWII.
I wonder how many younger people realize that had our country and our Allies in other countries not prevailed, the United States of America would not exist as the democracy (republic) in which we have been privileged to live since the end of WWII ?
My family now includes Hawaiian members who were living in those islands in 1941, other family members who served in the U. S. Armed Forces during that war. We all thought, as did those who lived through World War I, including some of my family, that WWII would surely be the “war to end all wars.” We were mistaken.
Since that time we have had a “war” that was referred to as a “Police Action.” We later had a war our country initiated based on a known false report of an “enemy” attack on our military. In that instance we were quite sure that would never happen again. We were mistaken.
Most recently we find ourselves once again embroiled in a war, which like the previous one, which was started on known false reports, this one, too, resulted in serious issues dividing not only the people of this country, but the people of this world. I would like to believe that when this war ends, that we will not make that mistake again.
We also thought at the end of WWII, as the pictures, black and white news reels, and first-hand stories of the horrors of genocide revealed the Holocaust, as we became aware of the atrocities in concentration camps, as we learned about the unspeakable acts against non-combatant civilian men, women, children, babies, the fetuses yet unborn, by those we knew as our enemy, that never again would this be allowed to happen in this world. We were mistaken.
What has to happen so that we are not doomed to repeat all these mistakes in the future?