Pearl Harbor – 1941 to 2018

December 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

You know why I remember this date every year? In sixth grade, at Lomond Elementary School, my homeroom teacher Mr. Albers wrote the date on the black board and proceeded to share the history of Pearl Harbor. I admired Mr. Albers and appreciated the way he chose to teach us – based on fact, story and relevance. In this case, we sat in Shaker Heights Ohio, free to go to school, live with our parents, food on our table and have a charmed childhood. In Mr. Albers opinion, we had all of that because of those who fought and died for our freedom on December 7 in Pearl Harbor.

“A date that will live in infamy.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today, this quote has so many meanings. And not in the way President Roosevelt intended.

I have great respect for our military men and women – even as I grew older and may not have agreed with the military or diplomatic policies of the United States, Mr. Albers was in my ear and reminded me of my fortune to be born an American and those who volunteered to protect it. He was why I wore MIA and POW bracelets when many in the US did not welcome veterans home from Vietnam.

So today, on December 7, I remember this infamous day in history. Until December 7, 1941, the US would not enter the war in Europe or the Pacific – for a variety of incorrect information and reasons. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor changed the course of World War II – for people in Europe, Asia and the United States. While Hawai’i, Japan and Europe may have seemed far, far away from Ohio at the time, we later learned the impact was much closer to home.

  • Thousands of US military men and women lost their lives at Pearl Harbor and the Pacific fleet of US military ships and aircraft was decimated.
  • On December 8, also without warning, The US government “detained” Japanese people living in the United States – separating families and breaking businesses. More than 100,000 Japanese were seen as a threat to US freedom and the US government forced them into internment camps.
  • From 1941-1945 Hitler systematically killed 6,000,000 (2/3) of the European Jewish population. This Holocaust also included Slavs, ethnic Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, black people, Soviet citizens and political opponents.

In my opinion, no war is a good war. Outcomes do not justify death and destruction by a greater power over a lesser one. I grew up in a family of doves. I believe and study history so we don’t repeat it. But in my short time on Earth, I also know this is not true. While leaders can work through domestic or international diplomacy, they also make decisions that lead to war, descent, protests, anger, frustration and death.

Today, I remember the attack on Pearl Harbor and honor those who died and survived.

Today, I must remember not to repeat the past but learn from it.

Today, more than ever, I need to take the high road and seek peace with whomever and wherever I can – in my community and when voting.

The United States as a whole is no longer seen as the Super Power it once was and maybe never should be again. But I believe the people of the United States can be super powers of peace that will lift us from the lows of today to the new heights of tomorrow. Heights that are inclusive, loving, respectful and open.

From 1941 to 2018 – let it be so. The time is now.

 

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