This video is meant to give you a heads up about a video presentation that has been prepared by students from both New Orleans and Hawaii, in conjunction with the National WWII Museum in New Orlean, LA, that will cover the events that took place at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It will be aired on December 7, 2021, which will be the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
We always talk about how important it is to know our American history. This program promises to offer a very effective way of handling the events that took place on that sunny Sunday in December 1941. It will apparently include visuals surrounding the events of that day and the war in the Pacific that followed it drawn from the archives of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
If you believe that knowing our history is truly important, take this opportunity to watch this program with your children and maybe even follow it up with some discussion. WWII was the most expansive and deadly war ever fought. Eighty years have passed since that day, and almost all of the people who lived through those years and that history have died. Many of the young people today belong to the fourth generation after that war.
What happens to a nation if it forgets its history?
When Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, it was some 87 years (“four score and seven years ago”) after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He was aware that the succeeding generations, had grown further and further away from that history and had, in many ways, forgotten its impetus, the thinking that shaped it, the intensity from which it was born and lived. That is why he referenced our Forefathers and why he quotes from the Declaration of Independence in the speech. He was recalling the American people, in the midst of the ongoing horrors of the Civil War, to remember the ideals that grew out of that powerful document. He worried that those founding ideals had been forgotten or distorted over time and, in that brief, powerful speech, he was trying to reawaken, to recall “We The People” back to them.
Every generation needs to confront the realities of our history and to be reminded of our founding ideals. We can say things differently in each generation, but we cannot say “different things.” If we want to be the nation that reflects the founding ideals are articulated in the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution of the United States, etc., we need to study them and to know them intimately. And we need to know the rest of our history as well, to look at it with open eyes, with humility and with a desire to keep the ideals of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness alive, morally sound, and strong.
Because our young people today are living in the fourth generation since WWII, there is an even greater need for them learn from, to know and, when their time comes, to pass on this history. Those who lived it are gone. We honor their memory and their sacrifices by remembering their history. We must never forget the great costs that were paid by so many in order to preserve, to defend and to protect the liberty of the peoples of Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands and, ultimately, of our own country, from the fascist and Imperialist tyrannies that threatened that freedom all over the globe.
To study history is to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of it, to try to understand the things that have contributed to making us a nation worthy of its founding ideals, and, maybe even more importantly, to see where we have turned away from, or failed, or denied those ideals and to learn from our mistakes. Our history Identifies those character traits that have made us strong and stable. We need to keep those elements of our character vigorous and vibrant. Knowing all of our history, the good and the bad, can help us grow into an even better, stronger, and more morally exemplary nation to a world that is always in need of such examples.
This documentary, put together by students with the help of the National WWII Museum, might be a very valuable way to share and to remember the history of that day in 1941 that President Roosevelt called “a day that will live in infamy.” If you get the chance, watch this program with them, talk about it and remember those who took up the challenge with their commitment and their lives in order to defend the freedoms that we still hold dear and that remain worthy of our courage and commitment today.