Pearl Harbor Day 2010: Do you remember?

Remembering is the first step toward understanding. Understanding is the first step toward preventing the mistakes of the past.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor culminated a decades long escalation in tensions between the United States and Japan, and the event forcibly thrust the US into World War II.

2,350 people died in that attack. 418, 500 Americans died as a result of the war. As many as 16 million Americans served in or with the military. The war cost the United States $300 billion, or $3.5 trillion in today’s dollars.

Yet, all of those statistics hardly hint at the real, world changing costs caused by a war that was, as most wars are, preventable. This observation in no way diminishes the sacrifice of those who died that day, nor does it diminish the horror of the attack, yet if remembering such events of history is about understanding them so as to prevent them from happening again, then such observations must be made.

Otherwise, the sacrifice that day caused will have been in vain, and the costs will be that much higher when the next event occurs.


Image credit: The National Parks Service

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