december 7th: how long does infamy last, then?
Today is the 62nd anniversary of the "date that will live in infamy."
On Dec. 7, 1941, six Japanese aircraft carriers positioned 200 miles north of Oahu launched 181 attack planes toward the slowly waking port of Pearl Harbor and at U.S. military airfields elsewhere on the island. The two- stage attack killed 2,403 Americans, including 68 civilians -- men, women and children.
Infamy, yes. Memory, perhaps not.
The anniversary of such an event should not pass unnoticed. I looked for stories today on the CNN and Fox websites. Nothing. I looked in Newsday, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Nothing.
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
Attacked - suddenly, no warning - by a nation we were not at war with. Sound familiar?
I would hate to think that 60 years from now the annivesary September 11, 2001 will be noted by nothing more than small paragraphs in small town newspapers.
It seems almost absurd that this day, this date of infamy, would see the front page of media websites and newspapers boast headlines about Paris Hilton and the Miss World contest with no mention at all of Pearl Harbor. I thought one of the things we - meaning all Americans - took from that terrible incident was this: Never Forget.
So have we forgotten? Will we eventually forget 9/11 as well? Perhaps many years from now the 3,000 dead will, like the nearly 2,500 dead in 1941, be just a faded memory that gets a cursory recognition on the scrolling headline underneath the latest Hollywood scandal playing out on your 24 hour news channel.
If so, we have learned nothing from Pearl Harbor and nothing from September 11th.