Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thoughts on Pearl Harbor

A day that will live in Infamy

The words of Franklin Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbor resonate 67 years later, and we like to compare it to the Pearl Harbor of our own generation…the attacks on September 11, 2001. It is a fair comparison, but I would like to pose another thought.

Imagine a young woman, 18 years old and living under the boot of the German occupation of Holland in 1941. This news brought to her, her family and neighbors, hope. Hope that perhaps now the United States would finally bring its strength to bear against the Nazi juggernaut overwhelming Europe. Perhaps now an ally would bring more than mere supplies and come to stand alongside what had been the last chance against the German onslaught, England, just across the channel.

In a way, the attack on Pearl Harbor signified a godsend of sorts for those who were desperately looking to the United States to shed their isolationist tendencies and join in the struggle to stand against Germany, and it indeed happened that way. It took another 2 ½ years before that hope in Holland was realized in the Allied invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Liberation finally occurred for that 18-year old girl and her family in the Spring of 1945…though she was by then 22 years old.

That young girl became my mother. Pearl Harbor holds a special meaning to me.

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