December 7, 1941. Throughout my childhood, I was taught to remember this day because we must never forget the sneak attack that dragged America into the ultimate war in history. This attack exposed a nation not ready for the challenges of the 20th century, a nation unaware of the evils that lurked. Yet, with steely resolve, boundless energy, and mind-boggling ingenuity, we emerged from this war a mere four years later, not only victorious, but also a premier super-power to boot.
It took me until 10:45 this a.m. to remember this day. Why?
Were the lessons of Pearl Harbor at the forefront of our minds on September 11, 2001? Not for me, at least until that morning. Indeed, I remember the exact spot I was -- as I am sure you do -- when I heard the news. Only then I didn't know what I know now, that we had been plunged into what may very well be a war that eclipses the last "ultimate" war. Unfortunately, memories fade and with them the lessons of history, though.
The lessons of both days remain eerily similar. Let's hope and pray that America's response to 9/11 is as marvelously heroic as her response was to December 7, 1941. So far, we are answering the call of history, in my view. But we must continue to answer this call as the WWII generation did.
And on this day, we recall that the lessons of Pearl Harbor parallel those of 9/11. Yet, that day belonged to another generation of heroes. Let's remember their unique sacrifice today in that perilous moment in our nation's history. And let's pray that we answer our call today as they answered theirs 63 years ago.