I had not planned for Pearl Harbor Day to be the theme of this blog post, but I felt so unpatriotic ignoring it I was compelled to write about it.
Actually, I remember Pearl Harbor Day every year, even when it is not printed on a calendar. (One Pearl Harbor Day I attended a surfing contest) I’m not sure why I’m so devoted to remembering the day. Perhaps it’s because I love history, or that I have seen the FDR footage so many times, or because “From Here to Eternity” left an indelible mark upon me. Or perhaps it’s because Pearl Harbor was a turning point in the 20th century for American and global history—the point when we entered World War II. Of course, my interest is enhanced by the wealth of film and photos that keep the events alive and potent. Literature and movies continue to build and perpetuate the stories of the war’s military and political giants as well as those of the common solider and civilian—stories that span continents. The Diary of Anne Frank and Patton are but two of thousands. Atonement, by Ian McEwan still speaks to the spiritual depth of those war years. Whatever the reasons, December 7 has always been a day I commemorate.
Is there a message in all this? Is there a reason I am compelled to remember this monumental day, perhaps, neglecting other infamous days of equally great significance? Born in 1955, I didn’t experience Pearl Harbor Day first-hand. For my generation, it’s not a landmark day like that of the Kennedy shooting, Woodstock or December 8, 1980, when John Lennon was murdered. But Pearl Harbor and WWII formed the days of my life—through media and politics—and that of the western world as I came to know it. To this day, I still view World War II as an epic battle between the forces of good and evil, dark and light, freedom and persecution, as opposed to other more ambiguous disasters that have plagued us nationally and globally.
This December 7 I will attend my Tuesday Afternoon Writer’s Group and my daughter will attend Grad Fest in preparation for her college commencement in May. My husband will see patients. But it won’t be just another Tuesday, because I will remind them it is a day that will not be forgotten in this household.