December 7, 1941
Yesterday was December 7th. Does that date ring a bell? “A day that will live in infamy,” Franklin D. Roosevelt remarked. Pearl Harbor Day. It was 80 years ago yesterday that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. A surprise attack that left 2,335 servicemen dead and another 1,143 wounded. It was the act that would propel the United States of America into World War II.
This year, two days prior to our observance of Pearl Harbor Day, Bob Dole passed away. I will admit I didn't know much about him except that he ran for President against Bill Clinton in 1996; he was in the Senate for 27 years, and of course, most importantly, his wife was from Salisbury, NC.
After reading articles about him following his death, I also found out that he served in the US Army during WWII, and that is where he sustained the injuries that would change his life forever.
And while I don’t mean for this to be a history lesson, as Winston Churchill wrote, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” And there is so much we can all learn from both of these things. There’s something I’ve learned for sure.
First, the times we are living in, and hopefully through, are not unique. I’m sure when our ancestors read newspapers about the US’s entry into a WORLD WAR, it had to feel like their world was ending. Maybe the way covid has made us feel?
Second, people are people whether they are conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican. One of the things I keep hearing about Bob Dole, a lifelong Republican, is that he had friendships on both sides of the aisle, and that he routinely worked with both parties to get the job done. And it was getting the job done that mattered, not chalking up another victory for his side or against the other side.
This brings to mind another incident, and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. John McCain, a Republican, was campaigning against Barack Obama, a Democrat. McCain stopped an entire town hall meeting, and told the audience amid several hundred boos and jeers that Obama was a decent man, and McCain supporters would all show respect because that’s the way politics should be conducted.
And it’s not just political, is it? Shouldn’t we be conducting ourselves that way everyday? I’ve had this connection between WWII and Bob Dole rattling around my brain, and it finally hit me, the men and women of that era saw greater significance than just themselves. All men and women who are in service see a greater good. It doesn’t begin and end with them, their beliefs and their opinions. They give all for their country.
I’m not sure when it happened, but we have become a Me Generation. Maybe it’s time we all started looking around us and realizing there’s more to this life and this world than I think, I believe, I deserve… Just because others differ from us in what they believe, doesn't mean they don’t deserve respect and consideration or that it gives us the right to be less than courteous. Maybe we could use John McCain’s message that we should all show respect because that’s the way politics (and life in general) should be conducted.