It’s September 11th, and I just don’t have the heart to bitch about politics today.

I sometimes wonder when this date will lose its immensity, its weight. Surely, some would say never, but I have to wonder. The day we recognize another pivotal moment in our history has, for many, become just another day; one where active remembrance and homage has long since given way to a footnote on our calendars and a special on the History Channel.  

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, ask yourself this question: What date is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day?

Clearly, they’re different events – I get it. But, they’re not entirely different. Both saw an unexpected, unprecedented attack. More than 2,000 American citizens died at Pearl Harbor, with more than 1,000 wounded. And, while the events of December 7th didn’t cause us to enter the war, it quickly became the rallying cry and justification for doing so. Any of this sound familiar?

And now, years later, many folks can’t answer the question above. Time and distance, I guess. So, again, I have to wonder: how much time, distance, or both needs to pass before the import of this day also fades? When does today become a footnote?

photo by JRABX



  1. Tim,
    Thanks for the question! My understanding is that while Pearl Harbor was the official, public catalyst for engaging in WWII, we had been involved in operations for quite some time before that. In other words, although the event was the cause of “when” America joined, it wasn’t necessarily the “why.”
    Am I misremembering my history classes?


  2. One of the great things about working with really, really smart people is it didn’t take long at all to get a bit of clarity on this question. While the issue of prior operations is still on the table, it’s fairly solid that events were set in motion prior to December 7th that made joining the war inevitable. I’ll do a little research and see what I can find.


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