272 – “Not just another day….”

By Hetty Gray

# 272

December 7, 2019

“Not just another day….”

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, FDR’s famous line “a day that will live in infamy” is not readily understood by the younger set, and I lay the blame at the foot of people who claim they are educators, but I see as more indoctrinators.

If that sounds harsh, just pad around a street sometime, or outside a place of business that caters to young people. Ask about December 7th — or sadly, even World War II — and you may elicit a blank look. How sad.

On that day thousands of young men lost their lives, suddenly and without warning. There are constant articles that claim that our government knew ahead of time but needed a viable reason to enter the war. I would like to think that their assessment is fantasy.

My parents’ generation fought that war. They lost loved ones and friends in that war. They kept the home fires burning, donating metal for the war effort and accepting the food and gas rationing with aplomb. At the heart of their efforts was love of country.

Widely missing in today’s society, we are at an incalculable loss for it. There is no way to estimate the cost of that national pride. Key to my youth, solid American values anchored our lives. Although I was born the year before World War II ended, it did, nonetheless, have a great impact on my life.

I was taught to respect anyone in uniform and I still stop to thank a veteran any time I see a cap denoting service. Service is the given term, but the cost in terms of physical and mental health is, and will forever be, indeterminate.

Whenever American President awards the Congressional Medal of Honor in a live event, I make it a point to watch. Every story is different, yet each story has one common thread: love of comrade and self-sacrifice. Thank God for that person and for every other man and woman who dons the uniform and carries the American spirit around the world.

Many people compare “9/11” to Pearl Harbor. Both were surprise attacks. Both targeted critical components of American society —for Pearl Harbor, military and for “9/11,” financial. In both cases, civilians lost their lives, although far more civilians died in 2001 than in 1941. Pearl Harbor crushed a peaceful Sunday morning when most soldiers, sailors and airmen were at rest, on light duty or attending church services. Their world that came to an end in less than a few hours galvanized the American people in a response that eventually took down The Axis Powers in Europe and the Empire of Japan.
I strongly propose that curricula in the United States be reorganized to teach a more intense study. Paired with the Federalist Papers and the U. S. Constitution would be military history. I often joked with my college students and told them that their idea of sacrifice was not getting fries with the special. While flip in nature, I sought to get their attention.

We are only as strong as our national fiber. Sadly, it is fraying. We need to instill good, old-fashioned (yes!) values of God, Country, and Family.

Today, as you hear mention of December 4, 1941, take a moment to ponder how a nation came together to defeat evil, and in the process, sacrificed so many. Below is a chart.


Branch Killed Wounded
Army and Air Force 318,274 565,861
Navy 62,614 37,778
Marines 24,511 68,207
Coast Guard 1,917 Unknown
TOTAL 407,316 671,278

As for the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the total number of military personnel killed was 2,335, including 2,008 navy personnel, 109 marines, and 218 army. Added to this were 68 civilians, making the total 2403 people dead. 1,177 were from the USS Arizona.

This seminal event in our history is not just fodder for movies and specials. It heralds the spirit of a nation that has freed more people than any other nation on earth.

Today, there are families who still mourn a relative lost on that day. Many were just teenagers who wanted a better life and declared that they were old enough to enlist. The bond among the men and women in the military is one hard to quantify or truly explain.

As we watch a slow disintegration of Americans’ pride in her history, take a moment to think about all those who died on Pearl Harbor Day. December 7, 1941 may have been 78 years ago, but it is a day never to be forgotten. December 7, 1941 was not just another day….

Think about it.

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