“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

I wasn’t born yet, but I do remember the distinctive voice of FDR in his radio address, and I remember many of the words he spoke.

I was thinking about this around 9/11 this year. Of course most Americans don’t remember Pearl Harbor, 70 years ago, directly anymore, as the population ages. But if we did, what lessons are we to glean now? “Never forget” is the mantra after many significant disasters. But Japan, and for that matter, Germany, are our allies now; maybe that’s the new message.

Incidentally, of the 16,112,566 Americans who served in the armed forces during WWII, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimated in November 2011 that only 1,711,000 nationwide are still living, and a greater number die each year.

And, as the population ages, we will forget 9/11 too, maybe not any time soon, but eventually, in a few generations. I believe there is wisdom to be gained from the past, but specifically, what is it we are supposed to learn? I think on this regularly, yet have no tidy answers.

0 thoughts on “Infamy”

  1. I’m not sure we do learn from the mistakes of the past, otherwise we wouldn’t keep on repeating them. Anything that didn’t happen within our lifetime or those of our parents we tend to write off as ‘history’ and something that we wouldn’t do today. Yet we do. One example would be the 19th century failed attempts by Russia and Britain to quell Afghanistan.


  2. The cultural mindset of United States in particular seems determined to ignore history as if it does not apply to US…


  3. Boy, your so right! I have thought of this often myself…how soon we forget and repeat the things that went wrong. I must say also I love this line “I wasn’t born yet, but I do remember the distinctive voice of FDR in his radio address, and I remember many of the words he spoke.” it made me chuckle.

    Have a great week!


  4. With the generation of WWII disappearing, it’s so important for younger generations to remember what they sacrificed for their country and why. Whether one agrees with the reasons or not, they should always be respected.


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