Dec. 7, 2013, marks the 72nd anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese — also our entry into WWII. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, bless his memory, called it “a day that will live in infamy.”
Dec. 7, 1941, also marked a coming together of public opinion, split at the time by pacifism and the reality by most that our very freedom and way of life were sorely threatened. If we had not mobilized quickly and fought in Europe, the Pacific and North Africa, German and/or Japanese might now be the languages most spoken in the world.
Most of today’s population did not live through the historical period following Dec. 7, 1941. There is a general public malaise and ignorance of the lessons of history. It is difficult to imagine the spirit, energy and sacrifice displayed during the WWII era taking place today.
I was dismayed after Sept. 11, 2001, when the House, Senate and general public approved the action in Afghanistan and Iraq, to hear President Bush say that we citizens should just relax and pursue life as usual. After Dec. 7, 1941, we very soon had national conscription; rationing of gasoline, tires, butter, etc.; sale of bonds to finance the war effort; and a sense of participation and patriotism that has been lacking since.
Omar M. Campbell