Seventy years ago today, America’s self-imposed isolationism, to which it had managed to cling for twenty years, ended when the Japanese launched their savage surprise attack against Pearl Harbor. All told, 2,402 people died. It was, until 9/11, the deadliest attack on American soil. A mere six months later, the American Navy met the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway. While that battle did not wipe out Japanese sea power then and there, it nevertheless spelled the beginning of the end for that power. The Japanese never recovered, and the war’s end was a foregone conclusion — never mind that it took another three and a half years to achieve.
I take Pearl Harbor Day personally. My mother was living in Indonesia at the time and the Japanese, flush with their devastating kill record against America on December 7, moved swiftly to take over Singapore, Malaya, the Philippines and Indonesia. My mom spent the war years in a Japanese concentration camp. Pearl Harbor day was certainly a day of infamy for her, and one that colored (and continues to color) the rest of her life. She soldiered on, but never recovered.