"December 7th, 1941--a date which will live in infamy"
So began Roosevelt's address,
As the eyes of a nation
Watched the skies,
Less than an hour after Roosevelt's speech,
Congress declared war on Japan,
And entered into World War II.
And so our boys left,
Fighting the good fight
And so Rosie flexed,
And patriotism soared,
And planes rained down barrages of gunfire.
I was always taught today's date.
December 7th, 1941.
My grandfather fought in World War II,
And in my house,
Today's date lived--
And continues to live--
You can imagine my surprise when,
Upon walking into the public high school where I work,
The flag prostrate,
Halfway between sky and earth,
Students did not know the date.
I asked the classes,
60 or so students, in sum,
"Who can tell me why the flag is at half-mast today?"
They looked at me in confusion,
"What's the date?"
Maybe 6 or 7 raised their hand.
One in ten students knew,
And while I was disheartened,
I was not altogether surprised.
So I posed the question to my coworkers,
"I've been conducting an experiment today,
Asking students if they knew why the flag was at half-mast"
Of the 15 coworkers with whom I spoke,
5 could tell me why.
10 could not.
"Why is it at half-mast? I don't even know..."
"Let me see, what's happened in current events recently?"
"Oh? It's Pearl Harbor? I didn't even know we put the flag at half-mast for that."
How quickly we forget.
The second largest attack on American soil in our history,
The greatest catalyst for our entry into the greatest war in modern history,
And we don't take notice of the date?
What will our sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters know?
Will they recall 9/11?
Will they remember it?
Will they relive it each year,
The way we so painstakingly do?
Will images of planes and falling men flee through their minds?
Or will they forget?
"Oh? 9/11, is that today? I didn't even realize."
Sounds preposterous, doesn't it?
And yet, our grandparents couldn't conceive of a time when we wouldn't remember Pearl Harbor.
"A date which will live in infamy."
Or will it?
History has its eyes on you.