I realize I’ve exceeded my recommended daily allowance of posts today, but I couldn’t let December 7th pass without comment, especially on the 80th Anniversary.
My father was too young to serve in WWII (he was only 5 on December 7, 1941) but he was a huge WWII buff and there were lots and lots of WWII history books around my house growing up.
I was a voracious reader as a youth so I was exposed to quite a bit of WWII history through those books. I was especially enamored with Naval history, which was the impetus for me enlisting in the Navy at 17. I knew I was going to be a Sailor from the time I was about 12.
Anyway, as a result, Pearl Harbor Day has always been a seminal date for me.
The importance of that day faded somewhat at about 9:05am on September 11, 2001, but it still has significance to me and so I thought it worth a mention.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think 9/11 was more significant than 12/7, or that 12/7 is any less a date that will live in infamy; it’s just that I was around and was active duty military on 9/11 so it hits a bit closer to home.
What brought this to mind is the basic fact that most of the people I work with are young. I work in a department in my company that is primarily made up of entry level positions, so most of my co-workers are recent college graduates. They’re all younger than my kids, a couple not much older than my oldest grandkids.
Most of them don’t know anything about the significance of December 7. If I say “Pearl Harbor” some of them (not all) may have some vague notion that it had something to do with WWII, or that it was an attack, but most don’t really “get” it and wouldn’t remember the date had any significance if I didn’t mention it.
Heck, most of them don’t remember 9/11…they were literally infants then.
It’s ancient history to them, and irrelevant.
But considering what’s been happening in our military lately, what with purging patriots in the name of “domestic extremism” and “white supremacy”, espousing critical race theory, and subordinating readiness to political correctness, I think it’s important to reflect on what led up to the attack on 12/7.
It, after all, wasn’t an attack on an undefended civilian target, it was an attack on one of our most important military assets in the middle of a heavily defended military base, and at the time of the attack, the rest of the world had already been at war for over two years so we should have been on the alert.
The point is that 12/7/1941 is a case study in allowing the military to become complacent and in failing to take world threats seriously enough. Allowing our military to focus on anything other than combat readiness and effectiveness during this troubled time is a recipe for disaster. We ignore the lessons of history at our peril.
Of course, that’s pretty much what humans do, so I imagine when the next “date that will live in infamy” occurs, we won’t be any more prepared for it than we ever have been.
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
~ George Washington
And, of course, the antipode is equally true: To be militarily unprepared is one of the most effectual ways of inviting war.