Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day of Infamy

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Address to a Joint Session of Congress, December 8, 1941

This is 69th anniversary of what President Franklin D. Roosevelt described as “a date which will live in infamy.” Fewer and fewer of us have direct memories of that day. One would probably have to be at least 74 or older to have any recollection of that day. Over nine years have passed since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and someday we’ll be among the dwindling few who have living memories of that day. I will always remember that 9/11 occurred on a Tuesday.

The “Day of Infamy” was a Sunday. At 7:53 a.m. on December 7, 1941, a wave of Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. That first wave was aimed at airfields and the eight American battleships in the harbour. A second wave attacked other ships and shipyard facilities.

The air raid ended at 9:45 a.m. When it was over, the American people were left in a state of shock. On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war against the Japanese. Three days later (December 11th), Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. In turn, the United States declared war on them and became officially embroiled in World War II.

Many Americans regard the attack on Pearl Harbor as the beginning of World War II. As a Canadian, I was taught that September 1, 1939, the day that Germany and Russian invaded Poland, marked the beginning of the war. I now realize that many Asians regard 1931 as the year that World War II really began. That was the year that Japan invaded Manchuria in China. It is important to remember that we are often given a very insular, western version of world history.

To watch a video about Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbour speech, click on the link below.


For the full text of the Roosevelt speech with audio, click below.

To watch a live news bulletin of the Pearl Harbour attack, click below.


I firmly believe it is of paramount importance to preserve the living memories of historical events before it is too late. Here is a video of the recollections of William Harvey, an African-American who was a cook on the USS Sacramento at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Click on the link below.



The Toronto Blue Jays have traded their ace pitcher. Shaun Marcum has gone to the Milwaukee Brewers fin return for Canadian prospect Brett Laurie. Laurie is a 20-year-old second baseman from Langley, British Columbia. In double-A last season, he hit .285 with eight homers, 63 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

The Blue Jays will have to fill the gap left by the departure of Marcum. There is a great deal of talk about the Jays acquiring Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals. Greinke, a right-handed starting pitcher, won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009. The Royals will demand a great deal for him. The Jays will probably have to give up outfielder Travis Snider and pitcher Kyle Drabek. That’s a lot.

This week’s winter meetings will be interesting. I’m anxious to see what Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos will do.

- Joanne