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With heavy hearts, we recall Dec. 7

This weekend, Americans will be reflecting on accounts about the infamous Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Despite the passing of 79 years, there likely will be some new angle regarding that horrible day that will be informative both to senior citizens who were alive at that time, as well as to younger people whose main exposure to that terrible event has been by way of history books, magazine and newspaper articles and television documentaries.

This year, those new details and recollections will provide some respite from the steady stream of horrific news emanating from the coronavirus pandemic — the staggering statistics regarding new infections, the death toll as it moves ever closer to 300,000, the uncertainties still surrounding a vaccine’s availability to the general public.

Amid the so-far-unrelenting pandemic, the lessons of determination, commitment and recovery emanating from that terrible event nearly eight decades ago remain relevant and must serve as a beacon of hope, going forward, as this country battles the formidable COVID-19 enemy.

COVID-19 will be defeated.

However, as most Americans realize, the question that defies an answer at this time is if and/or when complete victory will be attained — when this coronavirus will be sentenced solely to the pages of history.

Despite experiencing shock 79 years ago when they heard the news about Pearl Harbor, Americans quickly overcame fear, replacing it with the necessary mindset for a patriotic mission to save the land that they loved from foreign domination.

If there is one criticism that needs to be leveled as the pandemic rages on, it is against the defiance by many toward important precautions to protect themselves and others — and, on a broader scale, the nation as a whole.

That defiance is 180 degrees away from the patriotism, national devotion and spirit of cooperation that should be in every American’s heart today.

The division and maddening friction that exists amid the pandemic is a national disgrace that should be recorded that way in future pages of history.

COVID-19 should not be a recipe for dividing Americans, but it has been just that.

Pearl Harbor produced a correct unifying reaction. Unfortunately, many Americans have ignored the potential benefits of such a positive response amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Last month it was announced that, due to the pandemic, the annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony that commemorates the Japanese attack would be closed to the public. Fortunately, technology will make it possible for the ceremony to be streamed online.

A moment of silence will be observed at 7:55 a.m., the time associated with the start of the Japanese aerial attack on the naval base. However, it was confirmed in August 2002 that the United States actually had inflicted the first casualties of Dec. 7, 1941, when researchers located a sunken Japanese “midget” submarine.

As the Pearl Harbor attack is remembered this weekend, leading up to Monday’s actual anniversary, reflect on how America, despite the tragic toll, changed for the better because of it.

Let it be hoped that when the pandemic finally is conquered, a better, more united America also will have been attained, despite the pessimistic outlook for such a wanted result at this time.

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