Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor Day Celebrates Survival When We Knew Clearly Who The Enemy Was

I was born two years after Pearl Harbor. We did not have the "todo" over Dec. 7 in my childhood. True, no television, but so many alive to march and wave the flag. Apparently, they didn't want to. They might do something on Veteran's Day.  I think back then, so many actually lived through it, they didn't want any more.

Certainly, on Memorial Day at the cemetery, I don't remember much made of it.

The last survivors are getting more and more publicity. It seems to me, more each year. Still, these last survivors need to be remembered.

Did you know Dec. 7 isn't a national holiday? It's Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and it was established in 1994.

No wonder so little was made of it in my childhood and youth. We had Veteran's Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July that sufficed until then.

Is it my imagination?

Seems to me the urgent commemoration has increased since Sept. 11, 2001.

Fewer died back then. And many were soldiers, even if not in combat. We declared war on Japan AFTER Dec. 7, 1941.

On that day, 2,403 died.   1,178 were injured.
And we knew who our enemy was. Japan.  Their planes attacked American ships in Hawaii.

Now Japan is a nation we trust and trade with. History makes changes.

On Sept. 11, 2001, our own passenger planes were used to destroy the World Trade Center Buildings in New York and damage the Pentagon.

2,996 died, 6,000 were injured.  If passengers had not caused one passenger plane to crash, our own fighter aircraft would have had to destroy it with innocent citizens on board. I have always been so grateful to the heroes on that plane.

But we didn't have the luxury of an enemy nation.  We had an enemy most of us had never heard of.

I'm a news junkie. The name Osama bin Laden was totally unknown to me.

We still have that vague, amorphous, constantly changing, constantly more cruel enemy, we still deal, worldwide.  Safety is a remembered concept.

The fight has sometimes been a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not in reparation so much as for future safety and peace.

The fight doesn't seem to go well.

It took more than 50 years to make Pearl Harbor  an official Remembrance Day on the official US calendar. 

What we decide to do about Sept. 11, 2001, can surely wait awhile to decide.

Dec. 7, 1941, was truly a day of infamy. We knew our enemy, we fought them, we won--horrifically, but, at the time, truly just--and we have all recovered and gone on.

I just wonder if our attention today is a clinging to a way of warfare and life we understand and could and did recover from. I wonder if it is indeed a day of comfort when we compare it to Sept. 11.

And I wonder if life will ever be remotely the same.

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