Day by Day

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Did You Notice?

Yesterday. Friday. Truth be told, not much happened. End of the work week... Everyone looking forward to getting away.

It actually was mentioned in many of the papers I took a peek at.

Day of Infamy...

December 7th...

An earlier generation's 9/11 (though not as quickly forgotten and pooh-poohed as ours)...

While "Remember Pearl Harbor!" has no more cachet these days than "Remember the Maine!" or "Remember the Alamo!" (though if you ask any Texans, they'll tell you that that last one is still pretty catchy), it still holds many lessons for us.

History often does, if one is willing to go to class.

Pearl Harbor introduced the American public to the concept of "It *CAN* happen here" as the Japanese ('Japs' in the no longer PC vernacular) reached out and touched American territory in a way not imagined.

Imagination. That is often our greatest failure, isn't it? So often, the warning signs, the information, is readily available to those who have the imagination to solve a jigsaw puzzle never before seen. Too often easily done in hindsight, the oft-ignorant conclusion is that accomplishing the same in foresight is simple and expected.

That in this War for Oil (WWII, folks), a nation could sortie a massive naval force, sail thousands of miles undetected, and launch a surprise attack that could massively cripple our forces, and violate the gentlemanly rules of war? Pah! All evidence to the contrary, it was difficult to *imagine* that such was possible... Or at the very least, remotely PROBABLE.

In the late 60's, NASA (and the nation) suffered the first deaths of astronauts aboard a spacecraft. No, not thousands of miles away, but on the ground, in full view of everyone... Why? For a myriad of reasons, but the fundamental one being a failure of imagination. For all the contingency plans, no one imagined a routine test aboard an unfueled rocket to be hazardous.

In aviation, many accidents are the result of the crew and aircraft getting trapped into a corner that no engineer ever imagined possible or a risk.

And with 9/11, we never imagined airliners being used as human-guided missiles to be a real, cogent threat.

Yet, it happened.

One of our first lessons, as a nation, in the need for imagination, was Pearl Harbor. We were pulled kicking and screaming from our safe cocoon into a war that had already enveloped the rest of the world for several years.

These days, there are fewer and fewer stewards of that memory walking amongst us. They are joining their shipmates at a rate that is sapping their dwindling number. Often, local Survivors' Associations have disbanded, due to a lack of membership. There's not many left to tell the tale, and even if there were, would we stop to listen?

December 7th comes annoyingly in the midst of the shopping season, party whirlwinds, and the more mundane facets of our hectic, blessed lives.

If we were to stop and listen to the tale, as it softly becomes a hoarse whisper, we'll be taught. We'll be reminded of the lesson that it *can* happen here; if only, you can imagine it. And remember, imagination does not solely belong to those who believe the American cause to be just and right.

Anyone can imagine...

Imagine what we will be remembering in the years and decades to come.


Mary*Ann said...

I think Einstein said "...imagination is everything". I'm hope we have some folks in DC "imagining".

Talked to one of those stewards of memory today. His hat said "Army Air Corps". I told him about the Mustangs and Legends Air Show..we chatted for a while, I shook his hand and thanked him...he thanked me for sharing the air show with him!

Andrea Shea King said...

We remembered... and glad you did too.