Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

In some ways, it's hard to believe that it has been 75-years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.  When I was a kid, that was just part of the "modern history" that we covered in about two days at the end of the of the school year because we had spent entire weeks covering the "XYZ Affair" and the "Tea Pot Dome Scandal" during the fall and the winter.  There were so many people still around that remembered where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about it.  Now there are just a handful of people who were actually there during the attack--and for most of us, it's just black and white film or poorly-made Hollywood blockbusters.

I asked a couple of folks that work with veterans groups yesterday if they fear that future generations will "forget" about Pearl Harbor--and that December 7th will go from a "date which will live in infamy" to just another day on the calendar.  They hoped that ensuing generations would continue to hold memorial services and learn in school what happened and why--even after the last person who may have been alive at the time passes away.

My greatest concern is that the historical context of Pearl Harbor will be re-written as time passes--and social mores change.  Already, "truthism" is sneaking into our conversations about the attack.  Entire books have been written claiming to "prove" that President Franklin Roosevelt and Navy commanders knew that the Japanese were going to attack--and did nothing to stop it--just so Americans would back entering the war and that the "military industrial complex" could profit from it.

And the Japanese will be painted in a more "forgiving and understanding" light.  The Empire had a list of "excuses" for engaging in a sneak attack--including US intervention in the Japanese quest to conquer China and Indo-China, increased military presence and build up in the Central and Southern Pacific, and providing of aid to European countries fighting Japan's Axis Powers ally Germany.  Future history books will no doubt ask students to "consider the Japanese point of view" on December 6th, 1941 in order to "better understand what happened".

And let's not forget that Japan is a "nation of color"--and they were striking a blow against and "imperial white nation".  In his visit to Hiroshima this year, President Obama was told by some "social justice warriors" that he should apologize for the US using nuclear weapons to end World War II without a bloody invasion of the Home Islands.  Yet those same people would never demand that Japan issue personal apologies to the families of all those people that died in Pearl Harbor--BEFORE ANY DECLARATION OF WAR WAS EVER ISSUED!

So on this 75th anniversary of the attack, let's all pledge to never let the memory of our "darkest day" fade--or be "re-positioned" to make a few people feel better about themselves.

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