Friday, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor, Czar Nicholas II of Russia, Jeannette Rankin, John Lennon

We all know today as “a date which will live in infamy.”

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time (December 7, 1941), a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded. Much of the U.S. Pacific fleet was rendered useless.

Hang with me here for a second...

2007 is a 100 year anniversary of a lesser known event: Czar Nicholas II of Russia called for international conferences specifically to discuss “the most effectual means” to “a real and durable peace.” 1907 saw the last of these Peace Conferences. Soon, WW I would leave 25 million soldiers and civilians dead, twice the tally for all the wars of 19th Europe. WW II would follow with around 60 million dead, followed by Korea, Vietnam, Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East to name just a few.

Let's go back (forward) to December 8th, 1941. After that brief and forceful speech, President Roosevelt, asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I (she is the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, and the first woman elected to a national legislature in any western democracy).

On the night of December 8, 1980, I was sitting with my girlfriend (now wife) at The Duck Inn -- enjoying an ice cold scooner of Pabst Blue Ribbon -- when I learned that John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, was shot and killed by an obsessed fan.

Moleskine Thoughts:

I may never have the opportunity to organize a world peace conference.

I may never be the sole dissenter to vote against my country entering into World War III.

I may never sing before millions of people, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

But, today I will recognize that I am at war with myself and with others and I can seek peace in my body, my relationships, my family, myself, and my world.

Think, Drink, and Be (peacefully) Merry.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

2 comments:

Sir Richard of Windsor said...

Well said. I read of many of the WWII veterans that are being sent by their communities to view the Memorial in Washington D.C. to commemorate the huge sacrifice of that generation before they are able to go. A good and noble thing to do.

I can't help but think, if we could do something significant enough that we could build a memorial to peace, there would be no need to build any more war memorials, then we would know that we had truly accomplished something.

Sir Richard of Windsor

Sir Hook of Warrick aka "David K Wells" said...

Both fellow Knights have "said it well" with their comments. My wife and me just saw John Fogerty in concert. He sang a song, "Deja Vu", showing scenes from the Vietnam War but the lyrics speaking about what's going on in the world today. The reality is that "Giving Peace a Chance" is actually more fearful than "Making War"! Peace is hard, war is easy. There are times when war is a unavoidable and must be waged. That's why we have Knight's. I believe Pearl Harbor was one of those moments. My father was in the Navy and lost friends on those ships. He never forgot them, nor their sacrifice. Today, my son is joining the Army. I pray that if I have to hold his flag someday instead of him that his life, and God forbid his death, would not be in vain. Not because he chose to serve his country, but because his country actually served him! That is not so much the case in Iraq. The only way that War is righteous is that if the good outweighs the bad. Is that true today? You must decide!