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December 7…The 9/11 of The Greatest Generation

There won’t be any kitschy photos today.  Instead, I want to remember Pearl Harbor Day.   It was the day that led to the United States’ official entrance into World War II.  While I was growing up, it was still considered “a day that will live in infamy.” But it has been 70 years since that horrible day and the infamy wanes with time and each subsequent generation that is born that doesn’t have a direct connection with Pearl Harbor.

But many modern political and cultural decisions that may not make sense to younger generations have their roots in Pearl Harbor and our entrance into World War II.  For example, the overwhelming might of the United States military is designed so that “it” will never happen again (“It” being a good chunk of the Pacific Fleet being destroyed).  Even our income tax being collected throughout the year via our payroll was a result of the United States needing to pay for the war effort.

They didn’t have television back then to repeat the same horrific scene over and over again, but the footage that emerged from that day shows the devastation.

This is a silent newsreel that was created for the home market.   I prefer it to the ones created for theater viewing.  Periscope Films owns it so there is a film timer in the middle of it but it is thought provoking nonetheless.

Click here if the player does not work for you.

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  1. Being the oldest daughter of a WWII Navy vet, and one those baby-boomers born right after the war I do remember that it is Pearl Harbor Day today. In fact when I got up this morning and thought about today it came to mind immeadiately.
    And you’re right, younger generations most likely don’t think about it or even recognize that it occurred. That is what happens to history – and VERY UNFORTUNATELY people do not seem to learn any lessons that history might have taught us.
    That is one of the saddest things I can think about today.

  2. My father-in-law served in the Pacific…lied about his age and became a sailor at 16 years old. In the early 80s he was grumbling about my MIL buying a Nissan. I asked him what he upset about and he looked at me with fury in his eyes and said, “They tried to kill me!”

    He has mellowed from that fury but it wasn’t until after Tom Brokaw wrote his books that my FIL finally started sharing some of the horror he and his fellow sailors witnessed/experienced. I feel like it is my responsibility, almost, to do my best ensure that their horror was not in vain and to help people remember from where we came. Not as an idealistic flag waver…but so that I can do my part to help prevent the horrors from reoccurring. Unfortunately, I often feel like a voice in the wilderness….

  3. I, too, often get that feeling, ie. “the voice in the wilderness”, about so many things.
    It is far beyond me why people can not learn from other’s mistakes.

    My dad was 17 when he joined – had to get his mom to sign for him. I got my dad that book as soon as it was available. He still does not talk about his experiences but in the smallest ways. Being married to a Vietnam vet who has trouble with that, too, makes it just a bit easier to understand and very, very, very easy to give them all support and love.

    My goodness, there I am on one of my soap boxes again!

  4. Are you on a soap box? I don’t see one. But I do see someone who loves her father and her husband very much and understands that some wounds are unspeakable and can only be healed by love and support. 🙂

  5. Words escape me, which is a rare event.

    I’ve seen dramatizations many times, but they just don’t have the emotional impact of the actual footage. Thank you for finding this.

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