Calamity of Pearl Harbor a distant date from 9/11

I was only 5 years old when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The reason I could tell it was an important event was that the grownups around me were so visibly angry.

This was 9/11 for my parents' generation: 2,402 American servicemen killed and another 1,282 injured.

The next day, the U.S. declared war on Japan, our foray into the Asian and European theaters that would eventually having us storm the beaches of Normandy. Eventually, America's might would help lead to Hitler's defeat and the surrender of Japan after the atomic bomb blasts over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fallout from World War II? The Cold War. 

As the reports came in on the radio, it became apparent that we were in a serious situation. It is instructive to reminisce about how the American public reacted to the war. First of all, as far as I could see through my young eyes there was complete cooperation and agreement with the war effort.

If anyone disagreed they more or less kept their mouth shut.

For the first year of the war there was genuine fear of losing the war. No one openly objected to price controls and rationing. However, as time went on people managed to figure out how to circumvent some of the rationing that they found to pointless and too big a burden.

Hatred of the enemy was universal.

I can still remember a huge life-sized poster on a wall in a public place that bore the title” The only good Jap is a Dead Jap.” It showed tank tracks running over a dead Japanese soldier. Everybody started a “ Victory Garden.”

I personally remember hauling water for the corn and tomatoes. Our family was short on farming skills as all of our work resulted in barely enough corn and tomatoes for three meals. We did have a lot of radishes. The problem was no one in the family liked radishes and the ones we raised were very hot. We tried canning. It was a disaster as the mason jars started exploding after a few days so we emptied them all out. We did something wrong and never figured out what it was.

The main point was that people didn’t mind sacrificing for the war effort, especially since everyone now had a job. Few took notice that there were almost no consumer products manufactured such as cars, radios, refrigerators, toasters etc. As the United States military started rolling, the fear that permeated the land slowly disappeared.

Maybe the happiest memory of the war was the celebration of victory over Japan. Moving on to 9/11, I remember looking at the World Trade Center rade center after the first plane hit the first tower and having an uneasy feeling because it was a clear day. The only other notable collision with a New York building was in a thick fog during the war when a B-25 bomber struck the Empire State building.

When the second tower was pierced by a jet airliner, panic set in for those watching because it was apparent that we were at war with someone. For a short while, Americans united to fight against radical Islam.

However, in just a short period of time,  politics and cultural issues appear to have become more important than overcoming our enemies. Firs,t it seems that our efforts at discovering the bad guys must be politically correct. No fair cutting corners with a little common sense. In our efforts to make air travel politically correct we have made it more costly irksome and less effective.

Military secrets that need keeping to make lour efforts more productive are routinely aired in public so some official can appear to be important or maybe just to sabotage our efforts. Some of this is simple stupidity and some of it would have gotten the perpetrators shot during World War II.

Nobody in the intelligence community wants to let politicians in on any important secret for fear of finding it on the front page of the New York Times. We are even afraid to talk about who our enemies really are for fear of offending them. It appears that we need to have another major attack on the U.S. before people will take the threat seriously and take effective measures to counter it. Maybe a dirty bomb in the middle of Washington D.C. will wake people up.

Never in my lifetime did I think I'd see such a calamity as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on American soil, nearly 60 years after the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed as, "a date which will live in infamy."  


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The Right Side By Peter Mallory
Peter Mallory of New Smyrna Beach is retired as co-publisher of, but he continues as an award-winning blogger for the 24/7 Internet newspaper he helped Editor/Publisher Henry Frederick establish in 2008. He was recognized as a top blogger with in 2011 by the Florida Press Club.
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