One Year After Pearl Harbor

One Year After Pearl Harbor: Now that we’re almost a year out from 9/11, I think it’s worth examining what was happening in America one year after Pearl Harbor. Here is just some of Adam Keiper’s column from National Review about the subject…

“The official ceremony in Los Angeles started with “the hauntingly sweet strains of ‘Taps,’ the fighting man’s requiem, played by a Navy bugle corps.” This was followed by a moment of silence, then a series of speeches. During the course of the day, fully 50,000 people visited a Japanese submarine, captured at Pearl Harbor, that was on exhibit in L.A. – “a ghastly monument to the bloodshed on the day she crept with other Jap craft for the stab in the back at Pearl Harbor,” according to the Los Angeles Times. An aerial parade of military planes soared overhead. The city also held a realistic air raid drill, in which a mock village was attacked and evacuated before being burned to the ground.

In Philadelphia, a crowd of 20,000 gathered to see the launching of a huge new battleship – USS New Jersey, one-sixth of a mile in length. On the same day, there were 25 other new ships launched around the country, mostly Navy vessels. A few of the craft launched on the anniversary were nicknamed “Pearl Harbor Avengers.”

So many men thronged Philadelphia’s Army- and Navy-recruitment centers “to enlist for a fighting chance to avenge Pearl Harbor” that the street traffic snarled for blocks, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Thousands of would-be recruits were turned away because of recent age restrictions. One sorry fellow sold his home, quit his job and “geared all his private affairs to a Pearl Harbor Day enlistment,” only to be turned away. Other cities also saw enlistment spikes on the anniversary.

Students across America were in school on the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, just as they will be on September 11 this year. Unlike this year’s controversy about how teachers should discuss the terrorist attacks, there was no question in 1942 about how Pearl Harbor should be taught. According to the New York Times, the superintendent of New York’s schools personally directed the city’s classroom work, “so that on the first anniversary of this day of hallowed remembrance we may stand for a moment in meditation on the courage and sacrifice of those who now, on land, at sea and in the air, hold aloft the flag of the United States of America.” In colleges, ROTC cadets held special name-reading ceremonies. High schools held rallies and brought in guest speakers. For younger students there were flag dedications and fundraisers. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Boys’ Club “contributed pennies toward the purchase of a jeep for the Army.”

Small towns across the U.S. saw blood drives, parades, rallies, and speeches (religious and secular) on the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Businesses got involved, too, sponsoring commemorative events and buying special ads – like the full-page ad Hecht’s bought in the Washington Post: a huge picture of a falling bomb, with the slogan “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.”

Other countries marked the anniversary, too. Winston Churchill spoke in remembrance of Japan’s attacks in the Pacific, promising that Japan would be “stripped of her conquests, punished for her treachery, and deprived of her powers of evil.” Several countries in Latin America held sympathetic observances, like Argentina, which set aside the anniversary as a day of ‘homage to Roosevelt.'”

When you look at our nation today and see former Democratic Presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton undercutting the war, the Bush 41 crowd trying to protect their “legacy”, marxist students at Berkeley trying to disassociate themselves from the American flag, and washed up writers like Norman Mailer railing against “Patriotism” you can’t help but think our nation has lost part of the character that helped make us great. There are still plenty of people who believe America is still worth defending but it’s sad to know that there are so many people, particularly on the left in America, who no longer believe that. That certainly wasn’t the case back in WW2 and I can’t help but think that the Vietnam War is the root of this lack of fealty to America from so many of it’s own citizens.

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