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Little Assaults and Committing Care

An email that was sent by Bruce Foote, one of my University of St. Francis colleagues, reported some daunting statistics about what happened 74 years ago today in Hawaii. In the very early morning of that day, the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor Naval Base and this assault became the final impetus compelling the United States to enter World War II, (B. Foote, personal communication, 2015).

“In the aftermath, on the American side:

·         2,388 Americans died in the attack

·         1,178 Americans were wounded

·         21 American ships were sunk or damaged

·         323 American aircraft were destroyed or damaged

·         1,177 Americans involved in the attack were serving on the USS Arizona

·         Only 333 servicemen serving on the USS Arizona survived the attack

·         All 21 of the U.S. Navy Band Unit 22 were killed aboard the USS Arizona”

Many people, especially those who see anything before 911 to be ancient history, cannot feel empathy for these long ago souls. Nevertheless, I find these statistics to be personal…unlike most statistics, which tend to be impersonal and rather dry.  Because my uncle-in-law died in the Pacific theater and both my father and father-in-law served in the infantry and navy respectively during the war, I still feel connected to that seemingly distant tragedy.

Since then we, as a nation, and I, as an individual have endured many tragedies…some more significant than others. But the incidences of death in our lives tend to be the most enduring. Current events warrant that we not forget our tragedies but they also give us an opportunity to be better. I mean how about trying to learn from our mistakes? …And it is useful in this case, to remember that we are all participating in this “human space” together. Assaults on humanity are unconceivable but little assaults happen every day. Let’s consider making a difference in the small ways first—this should eventually build to a critical mass of caring and that surely will make a change in our world.

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