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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Days of Infamy

  Seventy-three years ago to the day, on a lazy Sunday morning in December, America was jolted awake by one of the most horrific attacks in its history. Naval and Air forces of the Empire of Japan destroyed the U.S. Military Base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The intensity and brutality of the attack prompted many young men to immediately enlist in the military to defend America. Today, senior citizens in their 80's and 90's can tell you where they were and what they were doing on that morning. President Franklin Roosevelt would describe it as "a day which will live in infamy".
  Twenty-two years later, on an autumn day in November, a young, popular, vibrant President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a car through downtown Dallas Texas. It was not the first time in American history that a president was assassinated, but it was the first time that Americans heard and saw first-hand accounts on television. Once again, ask anyone, even those in elementary school at the time, where they were when they heard the news.
  In 2001, on a beautiful sunny September morning, Americans watched in horror as two planes dove into the World Trade Center in New York City, another into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and still another into the fields of the Pennsylvania countryside.
  America has endured many days of infamy. For the generations who are unfortunate enough to have one, often it defines who they are. Sometimes it defines what happens following that day. For those whose day will forever be December 7, 1941, it was a jolt out of a crippling depression. It sounds odd, but suddenly there were much bigger things to deal with than a job, a meal, or a place to stay. There would be none of those things if there was no America. She had to be defended at all costs. So the greatest generation went to work to defend her.
  After the death of John Kennedy, many say that America lost her innocence. Soon after, things like hippies, drugs, and violence in American cities began. Other assassinations followed, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. America was turned upside down in what seemed like every aspect of life. Did people wonder if it was ever going to end?
  On September 12, 2001, on what was the saddest day in recent American history, might also have been the day that united Americans the most in recent history. Yes, there was Congress on the steps of the White House singing "God Bless America", but it went so much deeper than that. Flags were flown on almost every single house. Some people even attached flags to their cars. For a brief moment, there were no white or black Americans, no Mexican, Chinese or Asian Americans, just Americans. We had all been attacked and we would, as a people, answer those attacks. We would survive, yet again, a day which would live in infamy.
  Today, we remember that first day of infamy, December 7, 1941, and the men and women of that greatest generation who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. There are those that say we are living in days of infamy right now. Will we allow those days to define us, or the day after?

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