101 National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7, 2003; modified 031216)

The US will observe National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which was proclaimed in 2001, on December 7, 2003. The US was attacked at Pearl Harbor, HI without warning by the air and naval forces of Imperial Japan on December 7, 1941. The Japanese surprise attack severely damaged the US Navy and Air Force. The following day the US entered WWII, eventually leading to an unconditional surrender by Japan in 1945.

I hear the term "Pearl Harbor," referring to the Japanese surprise attack, in conversations now and then. I also saw a banner, "Minnesota Pearl Harbor Survivors" in the 2003 Memorial Day Parade at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Bloomington, MN. ( Photo < http://www.exploreamerica.info  > Photo Gallery > US National holidays > Memorial Day > Fort Snelling National Cemetery > Parade ) As we can imagine, there are license plates saying "Pearl Harbor Survivor (see Note 4)."  Because of its historical importance, "Pearl Harbor" has an additional meaning.  It can also mean a quick and surprise attack which usually causes great destruction.* Well, I, a Japanese who has been in the US for over 10 years, have never heard this second meaning of "Pearl Harbor" in conversations. The only time that I saw "Pearl Harbor" with this 2nd meaning was in the newspaper after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack: I saw that a local paper called the 911 attack** "The 2nd Pearl Harbor".

When I was in Japan, we were taught at school that the reason why the Japanese warning was not dispatched to the US in time was that it took much longer to type the warning in English than planned. A Japanese high officer in the US had to type English on his own in order to keep the warning secret, even from his secretary. It's certain that this reason was a miserable excuse. I wonder, however, why Japan didn't send the warning to the US in Japanese instead of in English. It probably would have reached the US in time. The US had interpreters to translate the warning into English in no time. BTW, once we come to the US and look around, we do realize that this country is way larger than Japan. We can't understand why Japan attacked this huge country.

Sources:
Listen to President Roosevelt's speech on December 8, 1941 < http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/pearl.htm  >

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Proclamation < http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/12/20011207-2.html  >
* The American Heritage Dictionary

** The 911 Attack < http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020909/aintro.html  >
Note:
(1) Pearl Harbor Survivors, 2003 < http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031208/ap_on_re_us/pearl_harbor_anniversary&cid=519&ncid=716  >
(2) There is a local ceremony planned, 2003 < http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/7426265.htm >
(3) The First Draft of President Roosevelt's War Address "A Date Which Will Live In Infamy" < http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/day_of_infamy/day_of_infamy.html  >
(4) The Sunday, December 7, 2003 (St. Paul Pioneer Press) paper had about 28 different funnies. Three took up stories relating to the Pearl Harbor attack: in one cartoon, some Veterans of WWII,  including the two cartoonists themselves, say, "Date Which Will Live In Infamy"
and "Remember Pearl Harbor!"; in another funny a character quotes, "A Date Which Shall Live In Infamy"; and in the third comic strip, a character salutes a "Pearl Harbor Survivor" license plate on a car at a grocery store parking lot.
(5) December 7 Specials < http://www.historychannel.com/global/listings/listings.jsp?fromDate=7&fromMonth=11&fromYear=103&NetwCode=THC   >

in Japanese

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