Friday, December 07, 2007

That Sunday Morning

December 7, 1941 . . . was a Sunday. The two persons who would eventually become my parents had yet to meet, lived 800 miles apart, and were just nine years old.
That day would be the most important day of my then yet-to-be life.

On December 7, 1941, America, isolated by geography and an idiosyncratic culture, was drawn not just into war, but into the world. The consequences were at once global and individually personal--even for a generation then unborn. That day led to the creation of an American war economy that morphed into an economic engine the likes of which had never existed in history; and which, relatively speaking, has borne prosperity that continues unabated. American culture was transformed from an agrarian to an industrial society. Women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers.

That Sunday led to the establishment of the most powerful military forces globally in the history of humanity. And those forces beat back fascism, then faced each other across a partitioned Europe.

When the immediate crisis was over four years later, the military, economic, and cultural transformations continued. In America, suburbia was invented, college educations were placed in reach of the sons of dirt farmers. And after the seventh war in which their performance was exemplary, black Americans renewed their call for full citizenship.

The tragic explosions that Sunday morning on Oahu, a place many Americans could barely locate on a map, created the America that exists today.

I've often said that all history is personal. Every American alive today was affected in a personal way by that Sunday morning. Think about it. . . .


Janice said...


You hit the nail on the head. Most children do not like history because they can't relate to it. They don't realize that they, and their family who came before them, are an integral part of it.

When history becomes personal, and genealogy is incorporated into history, then perhaps children (and adults) will actually become interested in it.

Great article.


Anonymous said...

Craig -

We have more in common than I knew! My bd is 12/14.

My grandmother's sister (not a Manson) lost her husband on the Arizona.

I am not sure if you have yet heard from Holi Manson-Spooner or not, but she is a fellow Manson researcher who has many times the data I do (and keeps it all fresh in her head, which I cannot!). If you haven't heard from her yet, I'm sure you will. I referred her to you on some questions I couldn't answer but I suspected you probably could.

Merry Christmas to you and Happy Late Birthday!

Karl Plenge

Lee said...

When you put it that way...

I think Jasia is on to something when she says genealogy should be incorporated into history. Although I enjoyed history before, it takes on a whole other meaning now.

For you, Craig, this appears to come natural, but I learned history first from an objective, academic standpoint, and sometimes I have to remind myself to ask just how this or that event touches my life. It would have been so much better if I had been taught to see it this way in the first place.