“History in ev’ry century records an act that lives forevermore.” (Don Reid) Historians might argue about what are the key events of various centuries. For the 1st century, it would probably be the rise of Christianity. What might you choose for the 21st century? For me, Dec 7, Pearl Harbor Day, is it for the last century. FDR called it “a day that will live in infamy.” Fewer and fewer actually remember the day, but I do, and it completely changed the world. ;-) Jack
FROM EDUCATOR PAUL: I was meaning to write to you about a reflection I had....
Growing up, December 7th was a date everyone knew. Before my time, but the media and social gatherings always brought it up. I bet less than 10% of people under 30 know the significance of that date today. To me...November 22, 1963 was to me like Dec. 7 th was to my parents' generation. For many years...documentaries and old news casts replayed JFK's life including conspiracy theories snd transgressions. Today..even on No. 22nd...I didn't even see one reference on the news or even in conversation. I bet today, John Kennedy is barely even known to millennials. It's not amazing to me that generations hold most significant the events they lived through, but it is sad to me to think of the lessons lost and then have to be relearned.====JACK: So many 29th Century events...Automobiles, airplanes, moon landing, MLK Jr, Holocaust, your birth and mine.
FROM PC IN MICHIGAN: We visited Pearl Harbor last April; you can't help but walk away with a renewed respect for the events of that day.====JACK: Since there was no television, we had to imagine from the radio reports what was going on. Most of the action films were shown later in movie theaters.
FROM TARMART REV: What "might" I choose for the 21st century-- the fall of Christianity in America?! BTW . . . One of the high school bands within our west-central communities, Kerkhoven, MN is a featured band there celebrating Pearl Harbor Day's 75th Anniversary!====JACK: "Successful (or unsuccessful)" Christianity is not always measured by numbers. I recall your ministry in WB as being successful.
FROM DR JUDY: That's interesting Jack. I don't know my history particularly well, but one of the highlights that I had learned about Pearl Harbor was that 'war came to us'. Same thing was said about 9/11. People no longer felt safe because terror arrived here. Similarly, I think that's what has frightened so many people with the Trump presidency. Many people felt that fascism and racism would never come to this soil.====JACK: I recall, prior to Dec 7, the voices calling for us not to get involved in the European conflict. But, then, the Pearl Harbor attack happened, and we found ourselves involved BIG time.
FROM MY ATTORNEY: I agree. Today's the day! What's amazing is that the event of the Pearl Harbor attack is not taught in many Japanese schools, although The Arizona Memorial in Honolulu is a major draw of Japanese tourists.====JACK: The irony...now Japan and Germany are among our staunchest allies. I think that it's because we helped them rebuild after the war.
FROM GP IN MICHIGAN: And so do I remember. But most of all, I remember my Mother crying on end for days. She just knew that my Dad would be called up in the draft. Which he was. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. When it was determined that my Dad was a trained first aid person and was very familiar with plant security, he was made a Military Policeman in the reserves and send back to Ford Motor Company to provide security and supervise first aid for his plant. It also provided the right sticker for the windshield that meant he could purchase all the gas and tires he needed for the family car. This because, that car was one of the several primary first call ambulance's to carry injured workers to Ford Hospital.====JACK: Those were tough days for moms and dads. "What if...." We are still overcome by the "what ifs...." As the song goes, "This is my Father's world, O let me ne'er forget."
FROM RS IN TEXAS: For me, so far it would have to be 9/11. It polarized the radical Islam vs. the West and has, unfortunately, led to more fear and hatred than coming together as human beings. How it all ultimately plays out remains to be seen.====JACK: I'll never forget that day....nut, looking back, is has caused me to explore the beliefs of my Muslim neighbors who, as a peaceful people, are more Christian in their actions than are some of the "religious right."====RS: You are right about that. The religious right is, in my opinion, nowhere near what Christ taught - love, forgiveness and inclusion. Unfortunately we have the religious right in all religions, which leads to confrontation, division and hate instead of peace.
FROM BB IN ILLINOIS: I'd like to hear more....====JACK: I was a newspaper carrier and made my collections on Saturdays. On Saturday, Dec 6, 1941, I took my tip money and some of my savings, went to the bank, and bought a $25 U.S. Defense Bond. I've never cashed it. It hangs on my wall. In fact, I'm looking at it right now. If I had a I-Phone I'd send you a picture. After Pearl Harbor Day, the bonds sold were called, War Bonds.
FROM JT IN MICHIGAN: I don't remember the beginning of WW 2 but have vivid recollection
Of VJ Day. A neighbor (lady) shot a gun into the air in jubilation!====JACK: I remember the radio broadcasts on D-Day....apprehension. No TV, so all we could do was imagine.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: We old codgers do remember that day, tho I was just in Jr. High, I think. Certainly a key event in our involvement in WW 2! The sad assassinations of Jack & Robert Kennedy, and of Martin Luther King also stand out, and the election of our first black President. But an act that lives forevermore? that's a tough one! Previous history dims with the next few generations, it seems. Forevermore is a long, long, time....====JACK: On a level of importance, we seem to remember most that which affects us directly. Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." ...easier said than done.
FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL: good thoughts here today, Jack. thanks! plh my brother and his wife just happed to be vacationing this week in Hawaii. there will attend several ceremonies today if possible. Mark said there are a lot of visitors there right now as you would expect...====JACK: One of my favorite Carl Sandburg poems is "Grass."
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work--
I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?
I am the grass.
Let me work.
====PAUL: during battle of Verdun, the line moved only about one mile resulting the deaths of almost one million men. the absurdity of war! also, when they were building the famous Chunnel under the English Channel, they had to lay new railroad tracks across a portion of France. would you believe a number of workers were either killed or injured when they hit unexploded shells and other ordnance which had been laying in the soil since WW II. even some farmers in the area have welded steel plates to the underside of their tractors to protect them should they be plowing and set off one of these old shells, bombs, etc. some wars never seem to end. as Pearl Harbor reminded us yesterday.. ====JACK: I remember how frightened "we" were when it seemed as though missiles from Cuba might start landing in our country. War is different when it's local.
FROM WATERFORD JAN: I recall December 7, 1941 vividly, even though I was a six-year-old. My 18-year-old brother's "graduation" from Marine Boot Camp occurred on Monday, December 8, 1941. My parents were upset, and I knew a bad thing had happened. The radio was on for many hours. Today a red, white, and blue bow is hanging in the middle of my Christmas garland
on my front porch.====JACK: I remember how families would hang a banner in their front window with a blue star in the middle...showing that they has a son in the war. It was a sad day when they replaced that banner with one having a gold star, indicating that their son has been killed.====JAN: I just read your comment about the movie theaters. I, too, just thought about that while I was writing to you. I recall looking carefully at all of the movie newsreels in case I might see my brother.
FROM HUNGRY HOWIE: Aug 6 1945, The Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, mankind now possesses the means to destroy the world, this to me is the most frightening day of the 20th century. July 20, 1969, The day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, marked mankind’s progress from the beginning to the expansion of our frontier. These two date to me demonstrate our skills and abilities and the inherent danger of self-extinction we possess. I remember watching the moon landing. Do you remember the Hiroshima bombing?====JACK: I personally knew the chaplain of the Enola Gay crew. Many of us who were living at the time supported the atomic bombing, believing that there would be many, many more casualties with the planned invasion of Japan. I am a believer in Situational Ethics. BTW, a former member the the Optimist Club, Don Ziemer, was a space engineer on the moon landing project. It was his team's responsibility to have the lander place the astronauts on the moon and retrieve them safely.====HH: Wow. To both items. It is true that there are only a few degrees of separation between us all. Wasn't Don also a civil war expert? I started coming to meetings a year or two before he was moving to, I think, Colorado.
I would like to talk with you about your memories of the chaplain. I spent much time as a student in grade school writing a report on the bombs. One they called fat man. I think.====JACK: Here's something interesting...After the war that chaplain, Bill Downey, became the pastor of Don's church in Milwaukee. And, yes, Don is a Civil War expert, and also was an engineer on GM's electric vehicle project in the early 90s. He once brought an electric panel truck to one of our Optimist meetings. Fat Man (because of its profile) was the name of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Little Boy was the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
FROM TAMPA SHIRL: I remember the day well too. It is very moving to see the Arizona memorial. I am reading killing the rising sun now. After taking many Japanese courses on history origami and haiku etc the book brings back horrific memories of the War!====JACK: I am apprehensive over world leaders who have no first-hand memories of WW 2.
FROM HONEST JOHN: I think the epic point in the 20th century was the decision by the various combatants to begin what became WW I? We went from a Euro centered world to a whole new arrangement that was eventually dominated by the USA. WW II was, to me, a conclusion of what began in 1914.====JACK: I'm not so sure that there has been a conclusion.
FROM TRIHARDER: The next century didn't wait long to record its event.====JACK: Are you referring to the recent election?====TH: Ha! Actuall, not. I was referring to 9/11. How many trillions of dollars that has cost in security, how it changed our lives. The new normal -- long security lines at the airports, sporting events, ...====JACK: Pretty soon there will be calls to change what Lady Liberty says...“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” ― Emma Lazarus