Monday, December 8, 2014

"Day of Infamy"



Sunday was December 7.

I failed to hear or see any mention of what occurred on that date in 1941.

Not a word. Not a picture. Not a lowered flag.

Perhaps it's been "rolled into" 9-11 (2001), another sneak attack on American shores that took more than 3,000 lives.

Or maybe because the December 7th memorial is beneath the waves while the 9-11 memorial is visible is the reason December 7th went unobserved.

Or perhaps because America's young adults can only accommodate one national disaster at a time, and Pearl Harbor was the "old folks'" disaster.

I'm sure that somewhere someone recalled the historic event, someone probably in the ranks of "Senior Citizens."

Maybe Americans are tired of memorials, of remembrances of those who died for their country - and a number of men and women who died for a country that was not yet theirs. Those who died in declared wars, in "police actions," and those murdered at the hands of terrorists. After all, we have Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, we have Gen. Lee's estate, and local monuments.

Maybe we don't remember why November 11th is a day of remembrance - a reminder of Armistice Day, when the "War to end all wars" ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a day we now call Veterans' Day.

Unlike the English and Canadians, we don't generally write poems about our servicemen and women, we have no In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae or Our God and Souldiers we alike adore - credited to Englishmen Francis Quarles (1592–1644) and reworked into modern English by Rudyard Kipling as A Time For Prayer

Perhaps 1941 is too far removed from 2014. A person born on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked would be 73 on the date's anniversary this year.

Maybe, despite - or because of - the constant conflicts in which the U.S. has been involved since the end of the Second World War, Americans don't want to think about those who serve or served their country.

Then again, December 7th may be "just another day" for so many since they never put on a uniform and have no concept of what serving their country means.

No matter what reason or excuse is given, the absence of any notice of the seventh day of December 2014 is a sad state of affairs.

To quote Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

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