Monday, December 06, 2004

Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941

It's been 63 years since the Pearl Harbor attack. I still see the occasional "Pearl Harbor Survivor" license plate, but even the youngest sailor, Marine, soldier or airman of those days is an octogenarian by now.

World War II marked the true emergence of the United States as a major power involved in the world. While we still have our isolationist tendencies, we are engaged in the world because we learned lessons from our experiences in both the world wars.

When I was a child, it was often recited that "major wars happen every twenty years." However, since the end of WWII there has been no repeat of total world war. To be sure there have been wars, both cold and hot (surrogate and not), but nothing that engaged virtually all the nations of the world in shooting wars fighting for or against global domination. The most powerful weapons ever created have been used only twice - 59 years ago.

The power of the U.S. has helped prevent another major war during those 59 years. And much of the credit goes to the men who learned the lessons of Pearl Harbor - that the oceans, so long a barrier to attacking United States and which allowed isolationism as an option - had been shrunk by modern technology and rendered isolationism no longer viable.

So here's to the veterans of Pearl Harbor who endured that hard wake up call delivered on December 7, 1941. And here's to the men and women who learned its lessons.

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