On Dec. 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. Nine years later on that date, John Adams was elected to be the second president of the United States. Lethal injection was used in an execution for the first time on Dec. 7, 1982, and Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s first popularly elected president on Dec. 7, 2004. All big moments, to be certain.
But they all pale in comparision to the events of Dec. 7, 1941.
It was 70 years ago when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, costing 2,400 lives in the early morning hours at a location more often thought of as paradise than a killing ground. It shattered Americans’ collective peace of mind as a war that was being played out in a theater overseas suddenly found itself happening on American soil. The events of that tragic morning spurred the United States into joining the fracas of World War II, and forever changed a generation.
Yes, before the events of 9-11, there were the events of 12-7.
A commemoration was held at the Pearl Harbor visitor center Wednesday morning, featuring survivors of the attack and various presentations to honor those who gave their lives on that day. National news networks filled space with interviews and archived footage of the attacks, and flags flew at half-staff across the nation.
Still, it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
The day has morphed into something that is ignored throughout the year, only to be brought back out of the mothballs on the anniversary of the attack. We’re steadily seeing this with Sept. 11, 2001, as well, as we get further away from that date in time, it slips more and more from our daily consciousness. Sure, we all have to move on and forward with our lives — after all, that is the American way. We adapt. We overcome. We persevere.
But it would also be nice if we took a little more time out of our lives to reflect on those who gave their lives in service to the rest of us — so we can adapt, overcome and persevere.