Omar M. Campbell: Remembering Pearl Harbor
December 7, 2017
Dec. 7, 2017, marks the 76th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and 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 no 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 has not lived 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 with our fractured politics.
I was dismayed after 9/11 when the House, Senate and general public approved the action in Afghanistan and Iraq and 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… , the sale of bonds to finance the war effort and a sense of participation and patriotism that has been lacking since.
I saw the carnage from a troop ship shortly after the event — the battleship Arizona and other of our Pacific fleet destroyed — a sight not to be forgotten.
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Omar M. Campbell