Remember Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941: “a day that will live in infamy”: the surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor–I haven’t yet heard anyone else mention it today, so I will.

One Pearl Harbor Day, not many years ago, found me teaching in a public high school, where I soon discovered that the students had never heard of Pearl Harbor. So I told them about it, and told them how my father and his friends all flocked to the recruiting office, where they were turned away because they were still too young. The students looked at me quizzically, and one of them asked, “Well, what did they do that for?” Why did these young men volunteer to defend their country after it had been attacked?

That question, and whatever prompted it, is part of the Day of Infamy that lives on.

But that’s what public education, and our downfallen culture, will do to our young people.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

16 responses to “Remember Pearl Harbor

  • Watchman

    It’s amazing how quickly things have changed. We went from young men storming the beaches of Normandy, to safe spaces in a single lifespan.

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  • UnKnowable

    If the U.S. was attacked in like manner these days I doubt seriously that there’d be a rush to enlist by millennials. They’d probably just want to know how it affected their reality shows and what to expect in the way of social benefits when/if the U.S. was captured by a hostile nation.

    The last president to experience WW II was George H. W. Bush, so every president since has been unable to see WW II with the perspective of an adult that lived through that era. It’s a natural fact; we can’t prevent that generation from aging and dying off, but we are losing an incredible wealth of experience and the perspective that goes along with it.

    The outcome of WW II was far from certain. No one knew if Germany could be defeated and without some truly bone-headed decisions on the part of the upper echelons of Germany they well could have prevailed, or at least held the territory they had captured.

    Japan was conquering vast portions of the Pacific and seemed unstoppable. While the German atrocities are remembered to our day the campaign of pillage in the Pacific seems to have been forgotten. I doubt that the Chinese have forgotten, however.

    Today’s generation somehow thinks that it cannot ever happen again and they are dead wrong. Mankind has not learned its lesson and harsh, autocratic forms of government still exist and are still aggressive. Going up face to face with the might of the US or Russian armies might be unworkable, but endless brushfire wars have eroded the influence of the superpowers just as effectively as a military defeat.

    Wars are won and lost in the temples long before they are played out on the battlefield. Military might is of little advantage when the moral character of a society has decayed.

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  • Erlene

    Greetings All. I have been wondering this morning why there has been no mention of Pearl Harbor. I’m sure the news media think it is too risky to offend the Japanese. After all, who among the young have even heard of
    the horrors of what ensued after that historic day. The moral decay of the society is a good point. Sad, but true.

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  • marlene

    After telling us he would NOT enter the war, FDR told Japan to strike first. He was NOT surprised.

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    • leeduigon

      “FDR told Japan to strike first”–uh, I think we need some solid proof of that. I am averse to believing such a thing of anyone.

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      • marlene

        I read it in 2 or 3 places, either Bill Federer’s American Minute, the Tenth Amendment Center, or Wallbuilders, as well as in an article on American History. I’ll try to locate and post it for you. In the meantime, not being a journalist, writer or in the news, I am not held to the same standards, other then telling the truth about having read the article in at least 2 or 3 places that I consider reliable.

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        • leeduigon

          Marlene, the record does clearly show that FDR *wanted* to stop Germany and Japan from conquering most of the world, and wanted to intervene before Britain was overcome. He and many others did not want to face the prospect of America standing alone against all of Europe and Asia controlled by the Axis powers. I think we can agree that that would have constituted an existential threat to our country.

          The record also shows that the American people, on the whole, were not eager to get into the war–which, of course, was a political difficulty for Roosevelt.

          But there is no clear historical record that proves that Roosevelt purposely sacrificed Pearl Harbor to ignite war with Japan. See, for instance, this:

          http://www.wfdd.org/story/no-fdr-did-not-know-japanese-were-going-bomb-pearl-harbor

          The question is controversial and unresolved. We should expect it to be so. Thucydides, who took part in the Peloponessian War as an Athenian general (and plague survivor), and traveled all over Greece to interview other participants in the war, had to admit that in spite of his best and most toilsome efforts, he could not say authoritatively “what really happened”: he could only say what he thought had happened.

          History is like that, more often than not.

          And so, unless I see solid and probably unobtainable proof to the contrary, I choose not to believe that an American president, even a Democrat, knowingly did such a wicked thing as that.

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  • UnKnowable

    I once spoke to two men about WW II, one born in Italy (and who had live through the war) and another born in West Germany after the war. Both of them were fervent in their belief that Roosevelt and Hitler had conspired to bring about The War. Their notions meshed perfectly, but that did not convince me in the slightest.

    There may be some truly evil people in the world that would take pleasure in destroying lives, countries, even civilizations, but I am inclined to believe that most people, even histories cruelest dictators, are not so much evil as they are blind to the faults in their own solutions. If they can’t see the failings of their ideas they might not realize that they are causing harm because they can only see the situation as it relates to their pet solution. They push their plan and it doesn’t take hold, so they push harder and soon lose sight of any positive goals they may have had initially.

    Hillary was dumbfounded that she wasn’t 50 points ahead in the poles and I imagine that Hitler, the Emperor of Japan or Stalin were just as dumbfounded that their ideas were not universally accepted. It’s called confirmation bias and amounts to rejecting or dismissing any information that conflicts with one’s conclusions. Usually cognitive dissonance will build up and force one to reexamine their conclusions, but powerful people surrounded by yes men may be at a disadvantage in overcoming confirmation bias.

    But, as dangerous as the above situation may be, it is a far cry from a literal conspiracy to do evil. People have consciences and a conspiracy would be exposed from within, sooner or later. I have met several people that were certain there were vast conspiracies behind various events, such as the moon landings. I always ask how they could get everyone involved to keep their secrets and usually get some nonsense about death threats, etc.

    In reality, these responses on their part stand as evidence of the real problem, because these responses boil down to rejecting or dismissing any information that conflicts with one’s conclusions.

    I believe the Roosevelt made mistakes leading up the WW II, but I don’t believe for even one second that he would have wanted to see the death and destruction of that war unleashed on Americans, or anyone else. He was a man with great responsibilities and decided as he saw fit. I’m no fan of Roosevelt, but I think that he worked towards the interests of the U.S. and wanted lasting peace.

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  • Erlene

    Now, we have the liberals, after watching testimonies of elderly WWII
    veterans, and those giving honor to them on TV, saying “…get over it”.
    Brilliant response, eh? I say, may we never forget and never cease to honor those who fight the battles so the rest of us don’t have to.

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    • UnKnowable

      When I was a kid, WW II was just something adults talked about and I didn’t really care. As I got older I became interested in the history of my lifetime and start d studying the Cold War, particularly the ’50s and ’60s. Inevitably, I was drawn back into studying the situations that brought about the Cold War and developed a meaningful interest in the history of WW II.

      At this point in life I am quite thankful for the prosperity and freedom I was born into. It could easily have been much, much worse had the forces of evil prevailed just nine years before my birth. I’m no war monger, but you’ll never hear me criticize a veteran. These liberals don’t realize that the freedoms thy enjoy came at a terrible price.

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      • leeduigon

        Growing up in the 1950s, WWII was still very much with us. Practically everybody’s dad had been in it. TV was full of WWII documentaries (remember “Victory at Sea”?), and the toy stores were full of army men. Plus Korea was going on. There were tons and tons of WWII movies, comic books, and memorial pieces in the newspapers and magazines. So, although VJ Day was four years before I was born, WWII was very real to me.

        I shudder to think of what would happen to one of today’s BS liberals if he were sent back through time to our street, circa 1956, and he opened up his big fat mouth.

        Right after they finished with the transgender first grade teacher…

        Liked by 1 person

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