Friday, December 16, 2011

Thank God for Pearl Harbor!

December 7th, 1941
We just recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor earlier this month.   I was privileged to visit the Pearl Harbor earlier this year with my wife and eleven year old son.  We saw the entombed Arizona which continues to emit its "tears" of engine oil to this very day.  We noted that many Arizona survivors have also chosen to have their mortal remains buried alongside their shipmates in Hawaii.  We were moved to see the handful of Pearl harbor survivors who come out every day for photos and autographs.  I find it so interesting that these vets have chosen to spend their golden years near the locus of the maximum trauma that touched their youth.

Just a few hundred yards away from the Arizona you will now find the final resting place of the USS Missouri.  It was on her decks that the final articles of surrender were signed by the Japanese in 1945.  Within this small area you will find the alpha and omega of America's WWII experience--where the war began and ended for the USA.

Imagine if the pearl Harbor attacks had never taken place.  Would Churchill's eloquence and the steely determination of the Brits and massive sacrifice of the Soviets have eventually enticed us into intervening against Hitler?  Perhaps, but what a problematic war and outcome that would have been, even if the West had been victorious.  The second guessing would have gone on for years.

It was the Pearl Harbor attack that united the country.  Even Charles Lindbergh became a strong actively engaged supporter of the war effort against Hitler and Japan.  It was fear of naked fascist aggression that ended American isolationism forever that bright Sunday on December 7th 1941.  From that date on the US would be engaged with the rest of the world.  We would become the arsenal of democracy and a beacon of freedom throughout the globe.

It was also Pearl Harbor that ended the Great Depression and brought full employment back to the US economy, but that's another story...

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