Yes, it IS December 7th. In case you didn’t remember, it’s time to take some time today and reflect on what happened on Oahu some 75 years ago. In the early morning hours, the Japanese attacked America by bombing our Pearl Harbor installation, forcing us into World War II. Up until the time of 9/11, it was the deadliest attack on America.
So today is a day to pause and remember those that gave their lives for us. I know there aren’t many of those brave men still around today…those that survived that horror, but I salute any of them that are, and fondly pray for the memories of those that lost their lives that day as well.
There are many stories about Pearl Harbor and the bravery that we focus on each and every year. And there are many stories about how we became embroiled in what was later to be called World War II. Some say it was the bombing in Pearl Harbor that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Others say that Europe had been pleading with us to join the fight for a while, and we ignored them for as long as we could. And still others have the theory that it was FDR that fought to get us to war. He was the one that actually instigated Pearl Harbor by freezing all Japanese assets on July 26, 1941. At least that’s one theory. And did he actually realize that the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor?
Well, that one is open to discussion as well. It seems the Japanese plan included a coded message that was sent to the Japanese ambassador in Washington who was supposed to deliver it to the Secretary of State. It was a declaration of war. There is a lot of speculation that our code breakers intercepted that message and knew ahead of time what was coming…or at least that there was going to be a declaration of war from the Japanese. Why this a) wasn’t figured out that they’d do it after we froze their assets, and b) wasn’t acted upon is open for historical discussion (and not the ramblings of conspiracy theorists or people that only mis-understand history!).
But it’s on this day I think back to 2005 when my wife and I were touring Pearl Harbor while in Hawaii. It was very somber except for the Japanese tourists who went to the USS Arizona memorial with us. They were laughing and joking around the entire time. I couldn’t understand why until it hit me. This was probably one of Japan’s largest military victories. To them it wasn’t a memorial…it was a victory celebration. And yet, Americans flock to the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, and stand in awed silence. It was disgusting behavior I witnessed on that day…and I’ll never forget it.
Take a minute today and reminisce. Think about what happened 75 years ago on an island few had heard of and even fewer had been to. And pause and reflect as to the greatest of our country’s fortitude and fighting spirit to pull ourselves off the mat after that attack, much like after 9/11 and exact our revenge. And don’t forget the men and women that perished on that day. My flag is at half-staff this morning. Is yours?
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!