Archive for the ‘History’ Tag
NOTE: This article was originally published on December 7, 2011, on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Some changes have taken place in Second Life, and so I have revised the article where needed to avoid confusion.
USS Arizona sinking following explosion of her magazine, 7 Dec 1941; photo from U. S. Navy History and Heritage Command collection
“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan….”— President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, speaking to a joint session of Congress.
The world changed — massively — for Americans on that December day. While most of us were going about our Sunday routines — perhaps sitting in church for the day’s sermon or Sunday school, or getting out for brunch with friends — a squadron of Japanese aircraft carriers were turning into the wind and launching attack bombers. Japan was stymied in its plans for expansion of its “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” by an American embargo on oil, machine parts and other needed goods, and afraid that the U. S. would respond if it attacked British interests in Southeast Asia, and planned a preventive strike against the American Pacific Fleet in Hawaii to forestall any action against it. The Japanese had planned to shave its “notification” to the U. S. government of hostile intent as closely as possible to keep a warning from being sent to the American bases in and around Pearl Harbor; but clerical problems in decoding and typing the message eliminated any validity to their weak attempt to observe the niceties.
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Harper put up an excellent pair of pieces for her Veterans Day writing this week, but I decided to do something of my own. In Canada, we call this Remembrance Day, and it’s more specifically to honour the soldiers and sailors who have fallen, like America’s Memorial Day, since the day’s origin lies in the end of what was then called the Great War, now World War I. The Flanders poppy in my lapel derives from the poppies that dotted the northern European landscape, thus the inspiration for Canadian army doctor John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.”
Je me souviens….
This would have been a good article to republish under any circumstances. In light of recent events, though, it’s even more important that we remember this thing, and that we swear, solemnly and before all that we all hold holy in this world, that it will never happen again, to any people on this planet.
I’ve checked the Map, and Israel Island is still there. Spare a moment, I beg ye, whoever ye may be and whatever be thy creed and faith, and visit this place, and pray for the souls of the dead, for the Righteous Gentiles, and for all who died as the result of a madman’s insanity.
“Rest quietly, for we will not repeat the evil….”
While we’re remembering our veterans today, both alive and dead, it’s appropriate that we remember others as well, who died for no reason other than the desires of a madman. I will tell you right now that this isn’t a light article, a happy fashion piece or a visit to some beautiful vista, and I pull no punches in my subject or my choice of language. If you find this a hard thing, my sorrow for you, and you should move on to another blog for now. But an evil this great must be remembered; must be kept alive in the history of the world, so that we may see the signs and take steps to stop it before it grabs hold of us again.
Read more after the break.
Jem, Conan (who couldn’t be present) and I all salute our country, our veteran relations and ancestors, and our democratic process.
In part, Veterans Day and Election Day are close enough together this year that I decided to combine the two together into one post. This isn’t normally my practice, but the theme I’m going to talk about here links into both, as it’s a matter that links the two days together. As I’ve done before, I’m writing for all three of us, and adding their signatures to this article with my friends’ review and permission, for which I thank them most gratefully.
We at Around the Grid all have a father or grandfather who served in the U. S. armed forces at some point — as well, doubtless, as any number of ancestors we have never known — and we were raised “traditionally” enough to have a reasonably strong sense of patriotism, along with belief in our country and its inherent good and decency. Our ancestors fought on behalf of the United States in any number of wars, going back to the Revolutionary War, because they believed in those facts. They desired the right of a man — and now of a person — to be free, to determine their own destiny with the least imposition of rule by the government over them, and only by their own consent when the government did institute a law of some kind. Jem and Conan haven’t mentioned any specifics about their fathers; but I can tell you that my own, as I think I’ve mentioned in the past, fought and bled for those ideals in France in World War II. (This is the reason I wear the purple duster I have on above, for Dad’s Purple Heart; and the purple strip in Jemmy’s dress is suggestive.) Many more since have fought, or simply served and stood ready to defend this country against its perceived enemies. Again, as this blog tries to do every year, we salute those men and women — not always understood, never enough appreciated, often wounded in spirit as well as body, but willing to lay their lives down if called upon for the greater good.
Please don’t stop here; more words, even more important, are past the turn of the page.
We haven’t published anything for the longest time due to Real Life press of duties; and so, for Hallowe’en, here’s a rebroadcast of a previous installment of this blog —
A monument erected in Grover’s Mill, N. J. to the Mercury Theatre broadcast of October 30, 1938. Background image in the public domain.
Today marks a historic anniversary. It was 75 years ago, on October 30, 1938, that the planet Earth was invaded by troops from the planet Mars, who defeated the entire New Jersey militia, as well as inflicting large numbers of state police and civilian casualties, from their landing point in the Jersey hamlet of Grover’s Mill. They went on to cut a swath of destruction (long since healed) all the way to the city of Princeton. It was at about that point that the invaders themselves succumbed to superinfection from terrestrial bacteria, thus sparing the planet from further destruction.
The events in question transpired this way–
(Knock comes at front door) “Oh, excuse me…. Mmhmm?… What??… But–… But–!…” (Sigh) “Oh, all right….”)
Well, actually, the planet wasn’t invaded. But a whole lot of people thought it was; and that was the beauty — and the scary power — of the thing….
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Remembering this day fifteen years ago, when the world changed forever for all of us.
Well, I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, Tell where are you going?
This he told me
Said, I’m going down to Yasgur’s Farm,
Gonna join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land and set my soul free….
I wasn’t alive, of course, when the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair happened — I’m slightly younger than the Mother of Bloggers I work with here, LOL. But I do understand what a watershed moment Woodstock was. Harper was telling me about a friend from her childhood who had been invited to go with some friends…and he turned them down. He kicked himself later, and made a trip to Max Yasgur’s Farm with a friend this year to see the site.
It’s unimaginable in some ways what went on there, when compared with what society is today. Three days that rolled over into a fourth accidentally, with thousands of people living in pretty rugged conditions — and there were no violent incidents. It was all about the music and the movement. At least one baby was born on site, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a whole bunch of them were conceived there at one point or another. It’s something that can only be imitated anymore, never duplicated, though I understand people have tried; it captured a moment of innocence that we’re probably too crabbed and jaded to seize again.
But one can hope….
By the time we got to Woodstock,
We were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song and a celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes
Riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies
Above our nation….