December 7, 1941 - Does the date still live in infamy?

Quintillus

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In any nation, there tend to be a handful of events that are of such prominence that not just the event, but its date, is remembered for decades or centuries to come. Those who lived through them can usually tell you what they were doing that day.

The dates vary by country, but have included:

March 15, 44 BC
July 4, 1776
July 14, 1789
November 11, 1918
September 1, 1939
June 22, 1941
May 8, 1945
November 22, 1963
September 11, 2001
February 24, 2022

And December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy", to quote FDR.

It's now the 82nd anniversary of that date, at least in Hawaii, and it had me thinking about the permanence and impermanence of these dates and anniversaries.

Some of them are national holidays, of either the celebration or commemoration variety. These tend to live the longest in public consciousness; who in the U.S. is going to forget about the 4th of July?

Others are perhaps not quite so permanent. I had to check that I had November 22, 1963 correct (JFK), but I suspect my elders who lived through it would not have. And that relates to December 7th as well. My subjective opinion is that it is not as prominent as it was, say, 25 years ago.

It makes sense. Far fewer of those who were alive at the time are still alive now. And in 9/11, there's a more recent event of a generally similar nature. But it's still interesting to me. It's not inherently a bad thing; so much has changed since then, not least Japan being an ally of the U.S. rather than an enemy. I've argued for years that the more recent 9/11 has too prominent of a place in the public consciousness, though it seems to be somewhat lighter than it was ten years ago as well; that U.S. policy and society has moved so far beyond 1941 is better than the alternative.

Did you think of Pearl Harbor today (/yesterday)? Had you thought about it in recent years? If you're young enough not to have had living relatives who served in the Pacific Theater, was it ever a date that had meaning for you?
 
I pretty much never think of it. But then Canada joined the war in 1939 so it was already old news (to my grandparents; my mom wasn't born yet and my dad was a toddler).

The only one of those 'infamous' dates I remember clearly is September 11, 2001. I'm trying and failing to connect February 24, 2022 with anything specific.
 
I pretty much never think of it. But then Canada joined the war in 1939 so it was already old news (to my grandparents; my mom wasn't born yet and my dad was a toddler).

The only one of those 'infamous' dates I remember clearly is September 11, 2001. I'm trying and failing to connect February 24, 2022 with anything specific.

Russia invaded Ukraine.

Otherwise yeah all those dates are familiar to me.
 
Last edited:
December 25, 0000

:mischief:

I didn’t think of Pearl Harbor yesterday or today, when the actual attack took place local time. I realized it about 30 minutes from leaving work after looking at the calendar.
 
Yes, I think about Dec 7th every year, but I served on ships homeported in Pearl Harbor. One of my very clear 'snapshot' memories of serving was the morning after I'd reported aboard my first ship the night before. I got cleaned up and in uniform, and on the way to the wardroom for breakfast went outside. I saw what it was too dark to see last night - all of Pearl Harbor was spread around me, including in the distance the Arizona Memorial. It occurred to me at that time that if one replaced the memorial with the ships of Battleship Row and the ships around me with their 1940s predecessors, I could have been a sailor in the Pacific Fleet just prior to the Japanese attack starting.
 
In any nation, there tend to be a handful of events that are of such prominence that not just the event, but its date, is remembered for decades or centuries to come. Those who lived through them can usually tell you what they were doing that day.

The dates vary by country, but have included:

March 15, 44 BC
July 4, 1776
July 14, 1789
November 11, 1918
September 1, 1939
June 22, 1941
May 8, 1945
November 22, 1963
September 11, 2001
February 24, 2022

And December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy", to quote FDR.

It's now the 82nd anniversary of that date, at least in Hawaii, and it had me thinking about the permanence and impermanence of these dates and anniversaries.

Some of them are national holidays, of either the celebration or commemoration variety. These tend to live the longest in public consciousness; who in the U.S. is going to forget about the 4th of July?

Others are perhaps not quite so permanent. I had to check that I had November 22, 1963 correct (JFK), but I suspect my elders who lived through it would not have. And that relates to December 7th as well. My subjective opinion is that it is not as prominent as it was, say, 25 years ago.

It makes sense. Far fewer of those who were alive at the time are still alive now. And in 9/11, there's a more recent event of a generally similar nature. But it's still interesting to me. It's not inherently a bad thing; so much has changed since then, not least Japan being an ally of the U.S. rather than an enemy. I've argued for years that the more recent 9/11 has too prominent of a place in the public consciousness, though it seems to be somewhat lighter than it was ten years ago as well; that U.S. policy and society has moved so far beyond 1941 is better than the alternative.

Did you think of Pearl Harbor today (/yesterday)? Had you thought about it in recent years? If you're young enough not to have had living relatives who served in the Pacific Theater, was it ever a date that had meaning for you?
All those dates resonate with me. You left out VJ day though. The least interesting and mostly ignored are are:

11/11/1918
9/11/2001

Some of the others are just harder to avoid.
 
I think of it, but I'm a history nut who regularly reads WW2 history and always shares Pearl Harbor & D-Day video/radio footage on the day on fb.


As far as the dates that the OP mentions:

March 15: Guessing that was Brutus' hands speaking for him
July 4, 1776: The day history began.
July 14: Mm....1789 is when the Constitution was adopted, but July 14 is also when the Bastille was stormed, so I'm guessing it has to do with that unpleasantness. Confusion to Robspierre!
November 11 1918: The day Europe momentarily stopped committing suicide
Sept 1, 1938: And when it relapsed
June 22: 1941: ...Midway is my best guess. No, that was '42. (Googles) Ohhhhhhhhhh.
May 8 '45: V-E Day.
November 22 '63: C.S. Lewis died. Also, some skirt-chaser got shot. Oh! And Aldous Huxley died.
Sept 11, 2001: My education in foreign policy began
February 24, 2022: The day the industrial-military complex in DC sighed in relief that the war on terror hadn't ended their revenue stream.
 
I think of it, but I'm a history nut who regularly reads WW2 history and always shares Pearl Harbor & D-Day video/radio footage on the day on fb.


As far as the dates that the OP mentions:

March 15: Guessing that was Brutus' hands speaking for him
July 4, 1776: The day history began.
July 14: Mm....1789 is when the Constitution was adopted, but July 14 is also when the Bastille was stormed, so I'm guessing it has to do with that unpleasantness. Confusion to Robspierre!
November 11 1918: The day Europe momentarily stopped committing suicide
Sept 1, 1938: And when it relapsed
June 22: 1941: ...Midway is my best guess. No, that was '42. (Googles) Ohhhhhhhhhh.
May 8 '45: V-E Day.
November 22 '63: C.S. Lewis died. Also, some skirt-chaser got shot. Oh! And Aldous Huxley died.
Sept 11, 2001: My education in foreign policy began
February 24, 2022: The day the industrial-military complex in DC sighed in relief that the war on terror hadn't ended their revenue stream.
That was the day that Doctor Who premiered.
 
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