Tuesday, December 7, 2010

lest we forget

Do you remember where you were on September 11,2001?  Silly question, right?  I mean, truly, how could you ever forget the moment you heard or saw that airplanes ran into the Twin Towers?  I know exactly where I was and who I heard the news from.  I was driving to work and heard the radio dj's talking about the first plane and then gasping in horror as the second plane hit.  They were so shaken by watching it that it was a couple of minutes (or maybe only a few seconds that felt like eternity) before those of us listening knew why they were gasping and what they were seeing.  I immediately called my husband to turn on the news.  I walked into work in a daze, grateful to be alone at work at that time of the morning.  I turned on the news on the front tv and cried.  I watched the towers when they fell.  I, like every other American, was grieved by the loss.  I remember thinking how quiet the world sounded for those few days when airline travel was grounded.  I remember how loud the first airplane I heard after those few days sounded.  Do you remember it?  My kids don't.  My kids weren't born yet.  To my kids it is something they learned in history but to me it will always be so much more because I watched it happen.  I will never forget.

Do you know where you were on November 22, 1963?  My parents do.  That was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  My parents can tell you every detail of where they were and how they heard and what they felt and how they reacted.  I can't, I wasn't born yet.  I read about it in history, they lived it.  They will never forget.

Do you know where you were on December 7,1941?  My grandparents knew.  It was a day to live in infamy.  It was a day they never forgot.  They knew the exact place they were and how they heard that the United States was under attack.  They remember everything about that day, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the disbelief, the fog of trying to figure out what happened.  My grandfather's fought in WWII, they sure as heck remembered what they were fighting for.  My parents read about it in history, their parents lived it.  They never forgot. 

My point is this, my grandparents never thought there would be a day that Pearl Harbor would be forgotten.  And it hasn't been completely forgotten, but let's be honest, it has been forgotten.  Today's front page of the newspaper didn't mention anywhere that today is Pearl Harbor Day.  Today's front page consisted of Josh McDaniels being fired as the Broncos head coach, CU's new head coach, and where to see holiday lights.  Pearl Harbor didn't even make notice until page 5 and then it was a short article.  Have we forgotten? 

Honestly, I know it is Pearl Harbor Day because of one thing.  I saw the flag half mast at my children's school.  I then drove down the highway and saw a circle of flags, all half mast.  I started processing why they were half mast.  Anything huge in the news?  Not really.  Well, they were half mast on Veteran's Day, is there something going on in December?  Oh my gosh, yes there is something going on in December!  Today is December 7, it is Pearl Harbor Day.  I had to focus on it to remember it.  My grandparents just always knew, just as I will always know 9/11.  On this day 69 years ago our country was attacked and then proceeded to enter the war that we had for so long tried to ignore.  On this day 15 years ago, my last living grandfather passed away.  He was a patriot and he passed on a patriotic day.  As my parents said often, he would have found honor in that.  Maybe he held on just for that?  Who knows, but I do know he never forgot Pearl Harbor.

I will never forget 9/11, but someday my grandchildren might.  Someday when my grandchildren are grown, the newspaper may not still have front page reminders of the tradgedy of my era and they may wonder why a flag is half mast before acknowledging the anniversary of that horrible day.  I hope against that day, but I also have to view it realistically.  Someday I hope my grandchildren will take a moment to say a quick prayer of thanks for the soldiers who so bravely fought and sacrificed on this date 69 years ago.  Someday I hope my grandchildren will have a moment of silence to honor Pearl Harbor and to honor 9/11.  And though I know it isn't realistic to hope for, I hope that my children and grandchildren don't have world stopping moments that they will forever remember that moment in time in a negative way.  I know they will have their own era tradgedy, but I wish they could just read about it in history and never have to live it.

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