Today is December 7 ... Pearl Harbor Day.
December 7, 1941 ... 65 years ago America suffered the worst attack ever on our soil at the hands of the Japanese who conducted a sneak attack on our Naval base in Hawaii.
It was, in the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "a date which will live in infamy."
Or so we thought.
Sixty years later, on September 11, 2001, America came under an even larger attack on our soil ... and it wasn't on an island in the South Pacific.
It was right here on the mainland.
It was in New York City ... and Pennsylvania ... and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. More people died that day than died in 1941.
And the big difference was ... they were civilians.
Have Americans forgotten Pearl Harbor? Most who are alive to remember are now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Many of the survivors have passed away ... the rest are becoming increasingly in frail health.
How on God's green earth do we expect people to remember Pearl Harbor, an event that happened 65 years ago ...
... when many have already forgotten the terror from 9/11 that occurred just a short five years ago?
Have Americans lost their resolve? Their will? Their courage? Their honor? Their willingness to stand up for the home front?
Have we forgotten how to pull together in the face of adversity ... in the face of the rest of the world? Have we allowed the worldview, politically correct elitists to so tie our hands that we aren't even willing to stand up for what we believe in anymore?
In the 12/6/06 issue of the Richmond Times Dispatch on the Op-Ed page were two articles that made me contemplate the connection between the two events.
Roy Martin, President of the Navy League/Richmond Chapter, wrote "Pearl Harbor Remembered: Attack Pulled the U.S. Into WW II".
Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of the British internal security agency M15, wrote Threat Is Serious, Growing, & Will Be With Us for a Generation."
Mr. Martin provides an historical background to the Pearl Harbor attack and comments:
"Sadly, too many Americans today don't recognize, much less remember, what happened, nor how it changed our lives, our country, and the world forever."
I believe that statement can also be applied to 9/11.
Ms. Manningham-Buller stressed the continuous increase of the terrorist threat worldwide, warning that it began well before 9/11/01 and continues today. She stated:
"We now know that the first al-Qaida-related plot against the U.K. was the one we discovered and disrupted in November 2000 in Birmingham. A British citizen is currently serving a long prison sentence for plotting to detonate a large bomb...."
She said M15 knows of 200 terrorist networks consisting of over 1,600 identified individuals who are actively engaged in terrorism worldwide.
"In the years after 9/11, with atrocities taking place in Madrid, Casablanca, Bali, Istanbul, and elsewhere, terrorists plotted to mount a string of attacks in the U.K., but were disrupted. This run of domestic success was interrupted tragically in London in July 2005. Since then, the combined efforts of [British intelligence agencies] have thwarted a further five major conspiracies in the U.K., saving many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of lives...."
But in the U.S. we continue to hear the cynics and doubters who beat the constant negative drum against the war in Iraq, against President George W. Bush, against surveillance of suspected terrorists, against our military, and against America.
There are core Americans who do support the President, the war, our military ... but they are the Silent Majority ... the ones without a public voice.
They do not have the mainstream media shouting their message of support from the front pages of newspapers and evening newscasts. They don't have that particular megaphone that is available to the anti-everything crowd who count on the MSM to amplify their message loudly ... and often.
My parents are the World War II generation. They have told me stories of how America pulled together at that time to work as a united front against our enemies. I have studied history from that time period ... heard about the sacrifices, the connection to neighbors, the willingness to sacrifice, the humanity of sharing with others.
The mainstream media at that time was pro-America ... and printed stories of hope, of success during the war, and human stories that made Americans feel proud of their country.
Movie stars in Hollywood signed up for the military. Entertainers supported the war by entertaining the troops, and by making public service announcements encouraging the public to buy government bonds, join the service, and make the best of using rations.
America ... worked as a team.
America ... was united as one.
How wonderful it would be if we heard that same message today.
How wonderful if all Americans joined together to make us feel good about our country, good about being Americans, good about being the most generous country in the world.
Pearl Harbor and 9/11 ... have we forgotten?