All posts tagged: Pearl Harbor

Hiroshima 1945 / 2019

Pearl Harbor. Normandy Beach. Hiroshima. Names, places, memories, and lessons we should never forget. Last week I was moved beyond words by time spent at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Garden and Museum in Japan. In fundamental ways the experience mirrored my reactions during visits in recent years to Pearl Harbor and Normandy Beach. The world at the time of those earlier visits seemed more stable than it does in 2019. Just a few years ago we didn’t have out-of-control individuals in positions of immense power in the United States; individuals threatening to use nuclear weapons against other nations and people just because the capability exists. Instead, we had leaders who sought, at least at some fundamental levels, to try and unite us as a people and as a world. There seemed to be adults in charge who had the memories to understand the horror to humankind of nuclear war. As John Hersey, the author of the landmark 1946 piece on Hiroshima in The New Yorker, once wrote: “What has kept the world safe from the …

History is Not What Happened Two Hundred Years Ago; It is a Story About What Happened Two Hundred Years Ago*

Last week, a colleague shared an article that pushed me to think about how different generations view the world. I come at this question from various perspectives—as a baby boomer responsible for staff from multiple generational groups, a father of two millennials, a son of parents of the “greatest generation,” and so on.  You get the point. Since I’m in the history business, my thinking focused on the major episodes of the past that have influenced generations I’ve known.  Both my parents grew up in the Depression and were greatly affected by the New Deal, Pearl Harbor and WWII.  My generation grew up during the expanding economic cycles of the 1950s and 60s with the rise of the middle class, but also experienced the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, not to mention Vietnam.  Two of my siblings grew up in the Reagan era, with its attacks on the New Deal and government.  For my children, their early and teenage years were shaped in part …

Pearl Harbor Day

A couple of years ago I wrote a post called Why We Memorialize and Remember Sacred Places on the reasoning behind my decision to cite December 7, 1941, as my top candidate deserving of the descriptor “The day the world changed forever.” I thought it would be a good post to share again – here on Pearl Harbor Day.  Memorials are about memory, which is “an essential part of consciousness” as quoted in my colleague Tom Mayes’ series of essays on Why Do Old Places Matter? In this day and age, we glorify the individual and forget that it is the collective – the community – that holds us together.  Places such as the U.S.S. Arizona memorial – and I would argue the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial – are indeed “places where moments in personal history become part of the flow of collective history.”  History that transcends individual experiences and lifetimes. It is important to remember that we are judged not just by what we build, but by what we choose to save and remember …

A Revolting Development

  Early last week I received an email from a colleague that said, “Hi David. I wanted you to know that I am in your hometown of Murfreesboro tonight (for a work-related dinner)…What a wonderful place!” She’s right about the last point.  I’ve written about the wonders of growing up in Murfreesboro before on More to Come…. I suspect she had driven past the Rutherford County Courthouse all decked out for the Christmas holidays on the town square (picture at the top of the post), and I suggested she drive by 407 E. Main Street to see “the old home place.” (Photo below – our old home is the one on the right.) Little did I know that I’d be driving by those same sites in just a few days. But life has a way of intruding on the best-laid of plans.  (So who cares if I haven’t bought the first Christmas present?) On Thursday, my phone lit up at work as both my sister and brother called multiple times within about ten minutes and …