Thursday, December 13, 2012
Pearl Harbor Day
Last Friday December 7th was Pearl Harbor Day-the 71 st anniversary of the first attack on American soil by a foreign enemy. I was born in 1956 so I had no memories of that day. What I knew about December 7, 1941 were through first hand accounts from my parents and teachers. My teachers supplemented their accounts with videos including the famous "Day in Infamy" speech by President Franklin Roosevelt. Last Friday I showed my 6th graders a short You Tube clip of that speech and we spent time examining the famous photo of the U. S. S. Arizona nearly submerged at the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In turn we discussed how this photo was emblazoned across the front page of every major newspaper in the United States on December 8th, 1941. Students were able to tell me this was the event that triggered our entry into World War II. That photo became associated with the phrase "Remember Pearl Harbor." Many knew how WWII would end nearly four and half years later with the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities. I shared with them information about how the Arizona is now a national monument run by the National Park Service-that ship is still there. Fast forward to September 11, 2001. Many of my students are only a year old-some are not born yet. America is attacked again and the number of casualties outnumbers Pearl Harbor. Only when I read that statistic on a website that day did I begin to realize the devastation of that attack. Now it is my turn and others of my generation and profession to share the stories of 9/11 with the next generation. The National Park Service operates a fitting memorial to the 40 heroes of Flight 93 at Shanksville Pennsylvania. The Pentagon Memorial in Washington D. C. and the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhatten also honor the fallen heroes.