Your Legislative Branch
It’s been a while since I blogged. Sorry! I have a few random things to share.
1. It’s officially Fall here. We had frost on the rooftops this morning and the leaves are falling from the trees like rain. And, of course, because it’s Texas the sun is still shining.
2. Today is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I received an email today which pretty much sums it all up:
Today is the 70th anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy,” 7 December 1941, when the Japanese Navy executed their devastating surprise attack on the U. S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and brought the United States into World War II. Approximately 2,400 people lost their lives – including over 2,000 Sailors, most of whom perished on USS ARIZONA (BB-39). The toll of those lost on 11 September 2001 was considerably higher, but it’s a stretch to see the resulting sense of outrage and determination matching that which followed the attack on Pearl Harbor. Nobody doubted then that we were at war.
The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy’s battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire’s southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.
Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese aggression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.
By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan’s diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.
The U.S. Fleet’s Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World’s oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.
These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan’s far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accommodation might have been considered.
However, the memory of the “sneak attack” on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan’s striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.
3. I stumbled upon this blog, Fibromy-Awesome. Mary’s writing style is the right mix of witty, sarcastic, and real. She is “a sickly girl with a computer” (in her own words) but her perpsective is spot on. Check out her latest post 15 Things White Girls love to do on Facebook. Hilarious! I wish her the best with her illnesses and her writing.
4. Christmas is coming! Santa Claus is coming to town?! I’m really low- key on Santa this year. I’m not big on the lie that is Santa, but I’m not going to spoil the impression our culture has created for my kids. I’m taking the approach the military used to take to homesexuals “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” As in, I won’t ask them to go see Santa or ask them what they want Santa to bring them and I won’t tell them lies to make him more real. Yeah, it’s kinda of like I’ve got my head in the sand in this one. I’m torn because, as a child, I totally bought into the idea that Santa was real (and that I really saw the Easter Bunny in the moonlight on my front porch when I was supposed to be asleep).
Happy Christmas planning and remember that it’s how we spend our time and what we do not what we buy that counts!