A date which will live in infamy? Maybe not so much

Editor’s note: I wrote this post last year on Dec. 7, 2014, but the same holds true today, a year later. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel, so I’m republishing the same post again. For those of you who read it the first time, my apologies.


Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

“A date which will live in infamy.”

Except it hasn’t, and that’s a shame.

I’m not old enough to remember Pearl Harbor; that was my father’s generation, and my family was not directly impacted by the events that transpired there. But as a retired newspaperman who designed thousands of front pages over a 33 year career, I was intimately acquainted with Pearl Harbor Day.

During my career — at least for the majority of it when paper, ink and editors were still relevant — Pearl Harbor had a presence on page one whenever Dec. 7 rolled around, without exception. But a quick hopscotch via Google to newspaper sites around the country reveals relatively few mentions of the day, and what I found took a protracted search.

article-2244749-16675D81000005DC-937_634x417I get it. Not a lot of those men and women are left standing, and media outlets must reflect what is relevant for people who are still walking around, voting, spending and tweeting in the 21st Century. Yes, I get it, but it’s not right.

Dec. 7, 1941 marks a turning point in our nation’s history, and shame on our society — and shame on mass media — for starting to allow its significance to sink deeper into the history books than the USS Arizona sank beneath the blood-tinged blue of the Pacific.

As they say, time marches on, and already there are young adults in this country for whom Sept. 11, 2001 is no longer significant.

That’s why this morning, Dec. 7, 2014, I’m reminded not just of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “date which will live in infamy” speech, but also these words from George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


Add yours →

  1. ‘How quickly they forget.’ I agree! Thank you for re-posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Glenn. I remember that day well. I was 9 years old, playing outside. When I came in the radio was on and everyone was very upset. The President ( who we didn’t trash) had announced that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and we were at war.

    This would change my life significantly in the next four years. Everyone and every family was affected. Then we didn’t sit back and watch other peoples family go off and fight a war. Now it is so easy to say we should send ground troops to fight. I wonder if these people would be so eager if it was their son, brother, dad? I think not.

    It is easy to spout platitudes and be super patriotic when you sit at home and live your life as usual. No sacrifice, no rationing, no worry over family members.

    I have lived through several wars since and everyone of them was a waste of human life. They solved no problems but they hurt a lot of people.

    People are in a panic now over Isis and they should be worried but in 50, 60, 75 years not one will remember that either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well said. Thank you for that!


      • Since I was outside in New Mexico playing like LouAnn that day, I remember it also. I heard it first from a neighbor. Our brother joined the Air Force and was gone before Christmas. In a few years our other brother joined the Navy and our Mother hung a flag with two stars on it in the window. I still have some of my ration stamps! I remember sitting in the dark during black outs, even though we were in the middle of no where in New Mexico, far from the ocean.

        Liked by 1 person

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