Archive for December 7th, 2010

There was the guy who came to pick me up wearing a rabbit suit … 6’10” with ears, of white fur, fuzzy tail and floppy feet. He doesn’t qualify for this post, however, since I didn’t actually go out with him after he scared the shit out of my son (Ack! The Easter Bunny’s looking at me!) and I realized he was a nutjobfuckwad of immense proportions and far too comfortable, tip-to-toe, in polyester on an August evening.

December 7, 1941, though … that is an infamous date.

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, 1 hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to tie 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.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces with the unbounded determination of our people we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.


A defining moment for a generation … and the final moment for thousands … sixty-nine years ago. No need for an accounting here of what followed, as we all know it wasn’t pretty.

Defining moments and infamous dates are often the points upon which we spin.

For those of us born after WWII, December 7th is just history … required reading, film fodder, a basis for free-ranging fears as the images in our minds were fed to us, not experienced first-hand.

Questions loom over what our world would look like had the outcome been different. Although it’s pretty clear Jewbacca wouldn’t be stretching out the dreidel season in Brooklyn this Hanukkah and likely those sushi-train restaurants would have popped up much earlier, one can’t help but follow threads in attempts to pick out possible patterns that might have made up today’s fabric of life.

Can we assume almost seventy years would see things smoothed over and people getting on with things in what would have to seem normal lives? Hirohito and Hitler would have died long ago even if their sides had won, that’s guaranteed, and the planet would come to be populated by people whose history books are colored in according to prevailing wisdom … crayons being one of the spoils going to victors. Perhaps our present would seem as odd, and as awful, to them as theirs does to us when we conjure images of a world ruled by Nazis and kamikaze conquistadors.

Our generation has 9/11, our “I’ll never forget where I was when” moment. And we won’t, not if we were five or fifty on that day in 2001.

We have yet to see anywhere near the end of the fallout from that attack on the US, and I wonder if sixty-nine years will reveal any clarity.

US involvement in WWII lasted less than four years. The Afghan War has now been going on for more than twice that and is now official the country’s longest in history.

And it ain’t over.

If we could jump ahead to 2070, what would be your guess as to what that world looks like?

I’m hoping my children and grandchildren have no more infamous dates to think back on in their history than the bunny-suit guy I didn’t go out with way back when … but, given our past, the present state of the world and the human inclination to grab and wield, I rather doubt that will be the case.

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