Quote of the Week
Mary Astor in A Life on Film, 1967, said: "A person without a memory is either a child or an amnesiac. A country without a memory is neither a child nor an amnesiac, but neither is it a country."
December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, according to then-president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hardly anyone under the age of 50 knows the date, and many don't know why it should be infamous. Is our educational system in this country at fault? Or does the climate of political correctness demand that we not call attention to our past history because it might embarrass our present allies?
Who Are We - What Are We
If we have become a nation that does not, or can not remember, what then does that make us? Are we a country? Or are we just millions of people with rapidly eroding common bonds?
Don't get me wrong. My point is not about spurning the Japanese. I lived in Japan for many years, and I am completely sympatico with them. They were my neighbors, and they're my friends. They're fine people. My point is all about accepting history as truth. Our nation doesn't need to slide down that slippery slope of whitewashing the past or worse, reinventing it.
This Above All Things
Great nations deal honestly with the past - warts and all. Trying to pretend something didn't happen is a good for little more than creating distrust. Just ask the Native Americans or the African Americans or the Japanese who were interred at Manzanar.
A famous American poet and philosopher, George Santayana, said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I don't want to repeat it. Not Pearl Harbor. Not 9/11. Not any of the awful tragedies.
Where Are We Headed
I fear that in twenty or thirty years kids won't know why September 11 is significant. History is important. Kids need to learn it - so do their parents probably. Curriculums need to be enhanced, and scholastic requirements toughened.
Maybe we should put it all in a video game.
In remembrance of Pearl Harbor.