Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2010 / 22 Kislev, 5771

DECEMBER 7

By David M. Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | HONOLULU — There are lessons to be learned here at Pearl Harbor. Don't put your aircraft wingtip to wingtip. Don't cluster the ships of your fleet in one harbor so closely that the group of them acquires the name Battleship Row. Don't assume that a gaggle of planes headed your way on a quiet Sunday morning is a set of your own B17s flying in from California. Do not discount an intercepted cable that reveals unusual foreign interest in an American military installation just because it is translated by a woman.

All of these are important legacies from the attack on Pearl Harbor that transformed Dec. 7 from the last day of the first week of the last month into a date that would live in infamy. Some 69 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the wounds here and on the American mainland are still deep, still raw. More than Antietem, more than Gettysburg, this may be, perhaps with New York's Ground Zero, the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial and Pennsylvania's Flight 93 crash site, the most moving place in the nation.

Even today, Dec. 7 is one of only five dates in American history — the others are July 4, Nov. 11, Nov. 22 and Sept. 11 — that require no year in casual conversation or formal writing.

You might not recognize the significance of Aug. 15, but if it is put down as Aug. 15, 1945, you will immediately identify it as V-J Day. You may not remember Aug. 9, but if it is expressed as Aug. 9, 1974, you'll know it was the day Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency. And perhaps the most important date in American history (April 19) has been obscured in the American mind because — please don't break my heart and tell me schoolchildren don't read this anymore — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow opened his beloved poem by speaking, in the third line, of "the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five," when Paul Revere made his ride, rather than of the 19th of April, 1775, when the shots rang out at Lexington and Concord.

But you know what Dec. 7 means, and so will your grandchildren.

The tragedy of Pearl Harbor began when six Japanese carriers with heavy escorts sailed 4,000 miles of open seas without being detected by the Americans. The modern mind asks: How can that be? The answer is simple: For the same reason that the French did not detect the British soldiers mounting the Plains of Abraham in 1759 before the Battle of Quebec, or the British did not detect George Washington's forces preparing their Christmas crossing of the Delaware in 1776.

The modern mind forgets: There were no satellites then.

The age of the satellite wouldn't dawn for another 16 years. For the entire sweep of history until 1957, humankind slept under only natural satellites like the moon, or planets or stars, which is why the launching of Sputnik (another signal date for you: Oct. 4) was so disquieting to Americans, and why Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev knew how unsettled he would make his ideological rivals by braying that "America sleeps under a Soviet moon."

But in those 16 years — from Pearl Harbor to Sputnik — the world would change at a dizzying rate.

The United States would be transformed into the strongest military power and most powerful banker in the history of the globe. Soviet Russia would be transformed from a largely agrarian despotism into a mighty industrial power with nuclear weapons and rocket boosters capable of achieving Earth orbit (but not, as Richard Nixon would make clear in his blustery "Kitchen Debate" in Moscow two years later, able to produce a decent dishwasher). The Cold War would break out with crises in Greece, Korea, Vietnam, Hungary and elsewhere. A new scramble for influence would begin in the Caribbean and Africa. McCarthyism would rise in America and a re-examination of Stalinism would roil the Soviet Union.

In those 16 years, the United States would end segregation in the armed forces and begin to integrate its schools, lunch counters and public accommodations. John F. Kennedy would be transformed from an obscure officer in the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center into a national political figure. The Dodgers, pennant winners in Brooklyn when Pearl Harbor was attacked, would be Los Angeles-bound by the time Sputnik was launched. The British Empire would be gone, Israel would be born. So, too, would many other new nations, some of whose names, like Transjordan and Ceylon, already have disappeared. Within a month of Pearl Harbor, Country Joe McDonald and Charlie Rose would be born. Within a month of Sputnik, Louis B. Mayer and Christian Dior would be dead.

The surprise attack still aches in the American memory. But it spawned a great American awakening.

So the next time you think that you are living in an era of unprecedented change, ponder how much happened in the 16 years after Pearl Harbor. Consider that programmable computers have been around for 74 years, that computer games have existed for 48 years, that Ethernet networking has been here for 37 years, that IBM first produced a home PC 29 years ago, that the Macintosh was available 26 years ago and that Windows came out 25 years ago.

So perhaps the great lesson of Pearl Harbor as we approach its 70th anniversary is more than military.

Never again will we present so easy a target to potential adversaries. But now we need to revise our perspective, and consider that for all of the great change we are experiencing now, the greatest change in our history may have begun when 354 Japanese planes arced toward Hawaii, destroying 188 American aircraft and sinking or damaging 18 American warships in a great American tragedy and military defeat.

"Pearl Harbor continues to haunt its survivors, as well as their descendants," Thurston Clarke wrote in the evocative volume "Pearl Harbor Ghosts."

But as we consider what happened here, let us remember, too, how almost every ship — though not the USS Utah, USS Arizona or USS Oklahoma — was put back into service, and that America recovered, and then some.

Remember Pearl Harbor, but remember its other lessons, as well.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2010, THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles