|A Japanese photo taken during the aerial torpedo attack on "Battleship Row" on the far side of Ford Island. A torpedo has just struck USS West Virginia (center). Also seen are (from left) Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. (Courtesy: The History Place)|
On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy drew the U.S. into World War II by conducting a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, killing 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians and wounding 1,178 others. The U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, called that day "a date that will live in infamy."
Indeed it was. By the time the Pacific War was over, Japan's killing rampage had taken the lives of about 30 million other people, including more than 100,000 U.S. military personnel.
|Chinese man being used for bayonet practice.|
|Three of Japan's prisoners of war|
Today I am thinking about a conversation I had with a young historian who expressed his impatience for the opportunity to rewrite the history of WWII--after all the eyewitnesses and participants, who have written the current history, are dead. His goal is to demonstrate the failures of America and Americans during that war; the trespasses of soldiers in the heat of battle, the failure of American society to fight for our survival as a free nation in a manner that meets today's standards of political correctness.
His chance will come soon enough. The attack on Pearl Harbor was 70 years ago. No more than I can fully understand what it was like to grow up in a Victorian household with a set of Victorian ideals and standards, this young historian, raised in an atmosphere of moral equivalency and schooled ad nauseam in the supposed failures and evils of the American system, cannot understand that many of those who fought that war were men of honor and dignity.
I've known many of them. I have had the privilege of being introduced to the ideals of honor and dignity held by so many who sacrificed for liberty during World War II. I have known many men whose conduct, both during the war and until the end of their days, well reflected George S. Patton's admonition, "Duty is the essence of manhood."
This self-congratulatory young historian has almost no idea of what constituted the ideals of duty, honor, and dignity for Americans during World War II, and he doesn't want to know. But, by the looks of it, in today's educational system where duty, honor, and dignity are such conspicuously old-fashioned anachronisms that they are seldom if ever mentioned, he has in front of him every hope for a successful career furthering the cause of Blame America First.
If the truth were told, many more of those who today hold the U.S. in contempt would realize that they would not even be alive if it were not for the sacrifices made by Americans during WWII.
Are the lives they are living worthy of the sacrifices made to preserve them?
This is a question, I am convinced, that many Blame America First-ers do not dare to ask themselves.
If the cost is to weaken the U.S. by minimalizing the actual contributions of Americans to human liberties, the true history of World War II, however painful to today's sensibilities, should not be forgotten.
Update: You may toss your cookies when you read this post by Marooned in Marin: Obama Daughters' School Has Japanese Lunch for Pearl Harbor Day; He Uses Dec 7 To Push Class Warfare.