As we approach the Christmas season, the frenzy of shopping…Black Friday after Thanksgiving… and all that happens at this time of year, it is easy to forget December 7th when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and awakened the United States, now known as “the sleeping giant.”
As we placed the American flags in the yard this morning, it may have brought a question from some neighbors passing our house to retrieve their mail from the local mailbox. “Why are they flying the flags…isn’t it Christmas?”
Yes, it is a busy time of year, but we must never forget the thousands who died on this dreadful day in Pearl Harbor.
It would have been understandable that after the attack and the counter-attack of the first atomic bombs to be dropped on any nation, to let the Japanese fend for themselves. Yet, the American way is to help rebuild and in doing so helped Japan to become the great nation they are today.
Having spent time in modern Japan with other American educators, as guests of the government, it would be appropriate to write of Emperor Hirohito who gave the people of Japan the possibility of a new life when he gave his speech of surrender.
“…In 1945, one week after atomic bombs had obliterated the cities of Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, radios across Japan crackled with another shocking announcement, one that would come to change the course of Japanese history perhaps as much as did the atomic bombs “Little Boy and Fat Man”. At noon, Emperor Hirohito spoke directly to his subjects for the first time in his reign. His announcement would shock Japan, but it would also transform it, altering in a few short minutes the entire mission of the Japanese nation in ways that it, and the world, still feel today.” (The Atlantic)
Yes, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was many years ago and this attack brought great suffering to all those involved, as war always does. The death toll was massive. Not much is said about this date of December 7, 1941, that according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy.” We would expect that every present-day high school student was made aware of its importance on this day of remembrance.
The sleeping giant had surely been awakened. As with any deliberate attack, such as this and even more recently, 9-11, the American people will always rise to the occasion. Not only did the attack bring the United States into the war of World War II, but it gave the whole of Europe the help that it desperately needed to defeat the Nazi threat of world domination.
The video below is on the attack with historical pictures: