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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A Simple Message

On this day some 71 years ago, many men pressed forward toward the coasts of France knowing that it would be their last. These men did not cower in the face of nearly impossible odds. They did what needed doing, and looked death straight in the eye. Some were taken and others were spared. But every man, living and not, changed the course of the war by storming those beaches. Every man, living and not, changed the course of human history. Every man, living and not, deserves our respect and admiration. Every man, living and not, did something that 99.99 percent of us simply could not do. We are indebted to every man who took part in the events of D-Day on June 6, 1944. Let’s not forget it.


On this day in 2014 I wrote more extensively about the events of D-Day in my post Something More Important Than Books.

My Saturday Selects post will publish tomorrow.