December 7, 1941 . . . was a Sunday. The two persons who would eventually become my parents had yet to meet, lived 800 miles apart, and were just nine years old.
That day would be the most important day of my then yet-to-be life.
On December 7, 1941, America, isolated by geography and an idiosyncratic culture, was drawn not just into war, but into the world. The consequences were at once global and individually personal–even for a generation then unborn. That day led to the creation of an American war economy that morphed into an economic engine the likes of which had never existed in history; and which, relatively speaking, has borne prosperity that continues unabated. American culture was transformed from an agrarian to an industrial society. Women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers.
That Sunday led to the establishment of the most powerful military forces globally in the history of humanity. And those forces beat back fascism, then faced each other across a partitioned Europe.
When the immediate crisis was over four years later, the military, economic, and cultural transformations continued. In America, suburbia was invented, college educations were placed in reach of the sons of dirt farmers. And after the seventh war in which their performance was exemplary, black Americans renewed their call for full citizenship.
The tragic explosions that Sunday morning on Oahu, a place many Americans could barely locate on a map, created the America that exists today.
I’ve often said that all history is personal. Every American alive today was affected in a personal way by that Sunday morning. Think about it. . . .
December 7, 2007 Friday at 4:34 pm