There’s so much going on around the world today. Protests are again erupting in Iran, and rioters in Greece continue to mark the one-year anniversary of a teen’s killing. 110 nations’ leaders are converging in Denmark to talk about global warming, and Tiger Woods’ mistresses are *ahem* coming out of the woodwork.
But today I feel compelled to stop for a moment and consider the past. Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the attack that dragged the U.S. into a global conflict. Although an estimated 2,400 people died on that morning alone, their heartbreaking stories of heroism and loss live on.
World War II may seem increasingly distant to us today—especially when compared to threats like global warming—but we must not forget history’s lessons. Hatred can still spread across continents like wildfire, and war still devastates nations and families.
I can think of no better way to remember Pearl Harbor than to quote a few veterans’ reflections on what that day meant to them, and to history. As we work toward a better future, we must never forget the past.
“We definitely need to remember our freedom and what we fought for. I think all veterans feel that.” Tom Prall, 85, Idaho
“Never underrate your potential enemy.” Leon Kolb, 78, California
“You’d be surprised how many (younger) people come in here and you mention Pearl Harbor and they say, ‘What’s Pearl Harbor?’ They don’t even know it exists.” Gene Kissner, Florida