What December 7th Means to me

I was born in 1991 nearly five decades to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. So everything I think about that day has been learned over the course of my 25 years, but long after the attack.

To me, December 7, 1941 is one of the turning points in human history. And I don’t say this lightly. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a pointless and cowardly act that didn’t need to happen. A formal declaration of war would have forced the USA into WWII just the same.

But back to my original point. Why do I give such importance to that single day? It’s simple. The worst armed conflict in human history was not going well. It was going horribly wrong, as a matter of fact. On that fateful December day everything changed. Thousands of American lives were lost. The Pacific fleet was no longer the threat it was intended to be. But the American hand was forced. War was immediately declared, and the Americans were coming.

I still haven’t finished my point about the date in history. It’s a turning point because the United States had not used its might to change the war’s outcome one way or the other. There’s no doubt in my mind that FDR would have eventually asked Congress to make a formal declaration of war had Pearl Harbor never happened. Why do I think this? Because it wasn’t in the interest of the USA to sit back and allow Japan and Germany to continue to conquer lands. But there’s no way of knowing how long he’d have waited. There’s no way of knowing how much longer the war would have lasted. There’s no way of knowing how many more casualties there would have been. There’s no way of knowing if the Allies would have been able to come out victorious  I think many people take for granted that the Allies would have won the war no matter what, but I don’t. I’m not certain D-Day ever happens if Pearl Harbor doesn’t.

The other dates in recent history that stand on par with December 7, 1941 are June 6, 1944 because it was an actual turning point in the war and September 11, 2001 because the entire world looked at terrorism differently.

December 7 should be a national holiday or at least studied extensively in every class on this single day. Americans of all ages should learn as much as possible about this date that, in my opinion, significantly changed history.

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Stopping a Book Before you Finish

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Photo Credit: Pretty in Fiction

I know more avid readers than I do this several times throughout the year. They pick up a book, whether by an author they know or one that is new to them, and never reach the final page. To me, this is a terrible feeling. Not because I feel bad for the author or the publisher or anyone involved, but because somewhere along the line I read the blurb or a review or something that helped me decide that this was a book I’d like to read. So I become disappointed that I made a wrong turn somewhere.

Let me tell you what typically makes me stop a book before I finish because it has happened a lot more recently than ever before. For the longest time I had only one or two books I’d started and stopped. I just did a quick check and I think that number is five now. Three happened this year! So what makes me stop reading a book? It’s boring. A book by one of my favorite authors that came out last year that was quite a bit different from his previous work had whole chapters of description. Whole 25-35 page chapters! What is that? The protagonist. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books in which I hated the protagonist, but there have been a few that made me just want to throw my book out the window. Not naming any, though. Pace. Now I’ve mentioned before that as a writer I know nothing about pacing. Well as a reader I think I’m more knowledgeable. I shouldn’t be nearly halfway through the work before knowing what the heck is going on. I want to know the conflict and I want to know it early on.

There is one other reason I might stop a book. If I’m just trying out a new author and I’m not hooked by the first 50-100 pages, then I might stop and grab something off my shelf by an author I know I like.

I think there have been five or six books I’ve started and never finished, and I still haven’t gone back to any of them.

So tell me, what makes you stop a book before finishing? And how often would you say it happens to you? I’m sure your reasons may be similar to mine, but maybe you have more.