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Pearl Harbor Day

December 7

Officially designated as "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day," this holiday commemorates the sacrifice of more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers and citizens killed and wounded when the Imperial Japanese Navy and Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941. This event caused the United States to enter into World War II.

Historical Trauma

The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, like the terrors of 9/11 in 2001 and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1961 are traumatic events whose aftereffects reach into the lives of future generations. Such events are often marked at the time they occur by the widespread feeling of "this changes everything.

The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor caught the U.S. by surprise on “a day which will live in infamy,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, thrusting the nation into a long, difficult war against tyranny.

 Ending its neutrality, the U.S. declared war on Japan a day later and Nazi Germany declared war on the United States four days after. Life was never the same for Americans, or the rest of the world community.

Similarly, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the murder of a popular President caught United States citizens off-guard, leading to conflicts and turmoil and ultimately changing the political and cultural course of the nation.

Catastrophic events that affect whole communities of people and sometimes carry over into subsequent generations are referred to by psychologists and sociologists as "historical traumas." The Holocaust  in Europe, the genocide against Native Americans in the 19th century, and the collapse of Roman, Persian and Greek empires in earlier generations were all traumatic experiences leaving physical, emotional, social and spiritual scars on the affected communities. The aftereffects of the Civil War in the U.S. are still present 150 years later.

Some events cause a kind of global trauma that transforms the way we think of ourselves and the world at large: the 1914 sinking of the Titanic, the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, and the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. The crash of the Hindenburg, Hurricane Katrina, the Vietnam War and the Challenger explosion were similarly made larger in scope and impact by mass media.

Attack on Pearl Harbor - A Day of Infamy (DVD)

Attack on Pearl Harbor
A Day of Infamy (DVD)

Pearl Harbor Soundtrack
Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Memories Men's Hawaiian Aloha Shirt
Pearl Harbor Memories

Men's Hawaiian Aloha Shirt

These events are more common and their effects are longer-lasting in the presence of newspaper headlines, radio and television broadcasts, and worldwide social media networking. The eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883 was arguably one of the most important global disasters, altering climates worldwide for the next five years, yet it took months and years for its impact to be recognized. By contrast, the effects of the political tsunami known as the "Arab Spring" in 2011 is being tracked and analyzed and cognitively digested moment-to-moment by individuals and groups throughout the world. And the consequences of such "real-time" global awareness are currently being tested for the first time.

Bulletin Board
U.S. Flag
U.S. Flag

All the Gallant Men
All the Gallant Men

An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor
Japan 1941
Japan 1941

Countdown to Infamy

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