‘A day that will live in infamy’

Bill Christopher, Crosscurrents
Posted 12/5/12

Tomorrow is Dec. 7. How many Americans will remember or even know that it is a historic date — “a day that will live in infamy” as stated by …

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‘A day that will live in infamy’


Tomorrow is Dec. 7. How many Americans will remember or even know that it is a historic date — “a day that will live in infamy” as stated by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt?

The attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese aircraft in 1941 caught us flat-footed with our Pacific naval fleet anchored there like sitting ducks.

Too many American sailors and soldiers lost their lives that fateful Sunday morning in Hawaii.

Unfortunately, too many young Americans do not know or appreciate the significance of this date.

According to the World War II Veterans Committee, a recent poll showed that only 13 percent of high school seniors know of the Pearl Harbor attack and the ensuing World War II.

And 72 percent did not know who Hitler was and the atrocities which he ordered and condoned along with our involvement in the European theater of World War II.

Awareness and appreciation

Our schools, both public and private, should be more diligent and focused in teaching today’s youth about such important events in our American history.

We should make today’s students aware of the reasons why both Japan and Germany attempted to impose tyranny and conquer the world.

Also, today’s young people should learn to appreciate and respect the sacrifice which American military personnel made to assure the defeat of both the Japanese and Nazi Germany’s efforts and to preserve our freedom.

Tomorrow would be a good time for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to do some teaching of their own and share the importance of “a day that will live in infamy.”

The Doolittle raid

And here is a fact that is more obscure than the attack on Pearl Harbor — soon we will be acknowledging and celebrating the 70th anniversary of the famous attack on Japan by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and his 16 twin propeller B-25 bombers.

Just four months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, our pilots launched a bombing run from the USS Hornet which had never been done before by B-25 bombers.

They took off to attack Tokyo knowing that the flight would be one-way. Given the great distance they flew to reach Japan, the pilots knew there was not sufficient fuel to even attempt a return flight to the aircraft carrier.

Also, the military planners knew that the number of bombs carried and the size of the bombs would not cause major damage.

However, the attack on the heart of Japan showed the Japanese military leaders that America was not about to give up. And it provided a huge boost in morale to American troops and the American people.

We salute the brave, courageous pilots and crews who flew that risky bombing run and thank them. They were indeed a part of the Greatest Generation.

Compromise is critical

The federal fiscal cliff is finally heating up and gaining more attention and understanding now that the election is over. This crisis, like so many situations, could have been avoided.

If we had leadership and a willingness on the part of both political parties to meet in the middle, this down to the wire negotiating effort would not be needed.

The election is over and now all the talk and promises to the American people by President Barack Obama and congressional candidates that non-partisanship would be practiced needs to be demonstrated.

Otherwise, we were terribly misled.

And let’s remember the basic reason people were elected to serve in Congress. It is to represent the people; not their own political party or protect their own political career.

This is a critical situation for the United States given the impact the fiscal cliff could have on our fragile economy.

The American people do not want the increased taxes and the pre-determined set of tax cuts to be triggered.

Local impact as well

And let’s be cognizant of the fact that the federal budget cuts would not simply impact federal programs, contractors and employees.

The reduced spending would directly impact state and local governments, including school districts and municipalities. While it is paramount that a well thought out set of budget reductions implemented over a multi-year period of time is essential along with closing tax loop holes and raising some taxes, the package of budget cuts and across the board tax increases are too much for our economy to absorb.

Tell your congressional members and the president that responsible compromise must take place.

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.


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