Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What we can learn from Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Day is a remembrance of the attack on the United States December 7 1941. In the early morning hours, Japanese pilots bombed Pearl Harbor, killing 2,335 servicemen and wounding over a thousand others. Sixty eight civilians were also killed. The Japanese attacked with warning. The pilots bombed airfields and damaged eight battleships. Among these is the Arizona, which exploded and sunk killing about 1,100 men on board. The attack on Pearl Harbor marked the entrance of the United States into World War II.

To my surprise, many of the people I work with didn’t even remember Pearl Harbor. One guy responded “Why should I remember something that happened 25 years before I was born?” Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that as an American I should be knowledgeable of my history. I know that America is not perfect, but being aware gives the country a chance to learn from mistakes.

Personally, I am concerned about the state of the nation. There are so many folks who offer opinions without understanding the who, what, when, where and why of the circumstance. I remember what it was like before the civil rights movement in the 60s. I was young, but I remember Martin Luther King’s speech. I remember watching the violence and bigotry in the country, and seeing African Americans leading the way for equality. I remember the Vietnam protests and the brutality of the 1968 democratic convention where protesters were beaten and gassed on national television. I remember the 1970 shootings at Kent State, where the National Guard opened fire on protesters, killing four students and wounding nine others.

When the Twin Towers fell, Americans were firmly behind the invasion of Afghanistan and some wanted to bomb the entire Middle East. The War on Terror was coined, and the United States entered into the global war on terror. But who remembers the bombing at France’s Orly Airport attack on July 15 1983. The bombing killed eight people and wounded 55 others. Terrorists bombed the 1972 Summer Olympics killing eleven Israeli athletes and one German police officer. Terrorism was largely ignored by the United States until it reached our borders, just as it did on Pearl Harbor Day in December 7 1941.

In my home town we experienced unbelievable riots over the shooting death of Michael Brown. This lead to the Black Lives Matter movement. But, at the same time folks were marching for Black Lives Matter, a nine year old girl was killed by flying bullets while she did homework on her bed. Black Live Matter didn’t protest this.

Am I rambling? Some. But all we experience now in America is rooted in what has happened in the past. And, because some have forgotten the past, the country continues in turmoil. 

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