RESTORING AMERICA

FREEDOM RINGS 1776 is a conservative voice, defending the views of those who still believe in the constitution and opposing any and all who would lead us from our tried and true beliefs. We who still believe in the spirit of 1776 must oppose anyone who would set this nation on a course that will fundamentally transform America.
Danny Jeffrey

DECEMBER 7, 1941-A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY-GUEST BLOGGER SHANNON WARD


I write this the day after December 7, 2014.  Many years have passed since the day of 'infamy.' A day that many vowed would never be forgotten. But like so many dates of history and the importance, we have forgotten. On many occasions we have neglected to pass on the history of our country. The forming of values in this great nation. In many cases we have forgotten those who fought for our country. Men and women who believe in the values of our country. I also have to admit I didn't always pass on to others what I know of history.

When my daughters were young and learning about our country, they asked me in the parking lot of the local grocery store. "Mom, what does it mean, Pearl Harbor Survivor?" When I looked up I saw what my girls were reading. It was one of the special license plates that Washington State had issued to those men who survived the Sunday morning attack on December 7th, 1941. At that moment I remembered reading about the attack in history. Reading books, watching movies that depicted the attack that Sunday morning. Many of my mom's generation can still remember where they were when they heard the news that Japan had attacked our nation that Sunday morning at 7:48. In that moment with my children, sitting in that parking lot, I too had to admit that I was very negligent in passing history to the next generation. I failed to bring them the information of one of our dates in history that should be never be forgotten. That in just under 2 hours America knew she was in at war that had officially not been declared. Our President Franklin D. Roosevelt, did declare we were at war on December 8, 1941 with the speech that acknowledge December 7, 1941 will be a day that will live in infamy. The speech brought out in words what all of Americans at the time already knew in their hearts. We were at war.

In just under 2 hours we lost over 2,400 Americans, over 1,100 were injured. Battle ship row was a mass of smoke, fire and death. The damaged vessels leaked massive amounts of fuel, oil making the water its own inferno. The devastation of the attack can only be imagined by those of us who did not bear witness to the attack or survived what these men experienced and survived. Hickam Field along with other installations were also attacked and their aircraft targeted. Some areas still bear the scars from that day so long ago. Bullet holes riddle the walls at Hickam Field. Oil still leaks from the battle ship USS Arizona. Still in the harbor, a grave yard for the men who perished there. A memorial is erected over the once great ship that pays honor to those who lost their lives on the day of infamy.  

As years go by many visit the memorial of Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona. Some visitors look at the names carved into the white marble. Searching for the name of friend or family member lost so many years ago. Other survivors who are now passing on have made the decision to join their friends for their eternal rest. I don't know how long ago since I saw the last "Pearl Harbor Survivor" plate in a parking lot. Thinking about the loss of seeing the plates makes me realize that we are losing so many of our greatest generation. I have to reflect on how we go about our business and don't look at what is happening around us or what we are losing because of 'disinterest.' 

There is also reflection on how much we still need to learn about events we thought we knew so well. A great example of this is that I didn't know that prior to the attack is that a Wickess-Class destroyer in the U.S. Navy came across a submarine and engaged the sub. The after action report stated they fired on the sub, dropped depth charges and sunk the submarine. This would make the first shots fired on that day was the USS Ward against the enemy. For years they were not believed. Then in the year 2002 the wreckage of a midget submarine was found in the spot that the USS Ward stated they sunk the submarine before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Watching a history channel program 2 of the survivors of the encounter got to go down with the researcher to see the submarine. It was fascinating watching and listening to the men who lived to see that they were finally proven right.

As we look to the future, we also need to look to the history. Be it good or bad we need to look and learn from history. We are slowly losing many of our members of the generation that went to war in Europe and in the Pacific. They are passing away and joining their friends who have passed before them. I have had the honor of meeting many of the generation. I met men who fought in France, Germany, Italy and many who fought in the Pacific. These were men who lived through experiences that they have with them the rest of their lives. They have faced death, lost friends and did this knowing they had to face what came to protect their families, friends and their Country. They are men of quiet dignity who served with honor. They are members of the 'greatest generation.'

The day of infamy that was to change the world as we knew it.  It changed our nation, the lives of its citizens. It will for ever be a date in history that we must never forget. For those of you who love history, especially those who have lived parts of our history, please share your knowledge. It is fading with each passing year, each generation loses parts of our history. Don't let a day on a calendar just be a date with a post script of what happened. Make that day a day of learning so the days and the significance is not lost like so much history has been. Honor those who made the history by remembering the history they were a part of. 

2 comments:

DANNY JEFFREY said...

Ah yes, those Pearl Harbor Survivors, and those that that didn't survive. Young Americans do know a little bit about them. They are the old fogies that young children point to and laugh at. They are the ones the VA puts on a waiting lists. They are the ones missing those arms and legs, and eyes, and they are the ones who lie in graves across this nation and across the world. They are the ones who lost their innocence on December 7, 1941 and still more of that innocence in later days on the deck of a ship under fire or on some God forsaken island somewhere in the Pacific.
Shannon speaks of the Greatest Generation, and I am one who still remember them with humble awe and admiration and I do not simply remember them on December 7 or Memorial Day. Yes, the Greatest Generation deserve to be remembered but memories do fade. In later years, other generations, The Lost Generation, The Me Generation, The X Generation, and now The Millennials are rather distracted in their pursuit of self interests, of sports, of entertainment, of personal gratification, and proudly owning the latest in digital technology.
Perhaps I am being overly harsh on these modern Americans, after all they have so very much, starting with liberty, freedom, safety, the highest standard of living that the world has ever known, in the greatest country the world has ever known. So what if they fail to grasp what the greatest generation endured so that they might live a life of such abundance. So what if they have no idea where Pearl Harbor is, or in what years we fought the Second World War. So what if Memorial Day means nothing but barbecue and beer. After all that war was so long ago.
But then perhaps I am not being overly harsh. Perhaps something is dreadfully wrong with today's Americans. The Day That Will Live In Infamy is being forgotten, but then again so is 911, and D Day, and Pork Chop Hill and the swamps of Viet Nam. I look across history to the Greatest Generation, and the generations that followed them. I look to the future when the Greatest Generation will maybe be forgotten altogether. Maybe too will we be; but I think not. One day the historians will look back to this period and speak of the Last Generation, for we are letting America and everything that it ever was slip away.

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