Written by: Scott Cooper
“December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy” are famous words delivered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a joint session of Congress the day following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, 71 years ago today.
Those who were 18 years old that day, if they are still alive, are 89 years old now. The result being, very few Americans personally know or understand the sacrifice that generation of Americans made to stop tyranny. Over 60 million individuals or 2.5 % of the world’s population died in that war. Over 418,000 Americans died. Great Britain lost over 450,000. As a percentage of population, Great Britain lost twice as many citizens as The United States.
Until December 7th, 1941 most American’s were oblivious to the world at war. Many who understood did their best to ignore it and encouraged their neighbors to do the same. The attitude in Great Britain was similar, until September 1939. This was despite numerous warnings from statesman Winston Churchill, who lost his seat in Parliament almost a decade before being called back to lead the war effort, in part because his vision was ahead of the people he represented. Please read a tribute I wrote to statesman Winston Churchill, on his birthday last week!
Today we face threats to our liberty and freedom which are more significant than tyrannical governments outside our borders, like those we fought after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Indeed our enemy is within our borders. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, known for his military efforts in the mid-19th century, is noted for stating “We have seen the enemy and they are ours….” Often paraphrased, “we have met the enemy, and it is US!”
This morning, as I reflected on what took place 71 years ago, two thoughts came to mind.
- First, most of our citizens, especially the youth have no grasp of our history, not only about this date but about the foundational principles and the price that was paid for these principles to become a reality in the republic of the United States.
- We are being destroyed from within, in such a way that if we do not wake up soon, when our next Pearl Harbor takes place (and it will happen – think September 11, 2001), we will be unable to get back up.
I believe we each need to have our own “Pearl Harbor Moment,” but in our own lives. The key is, once we have that moment, we need to get up from the dinner table, where we have been gorging on the bounty of past generations fight for liberty for far too long, and engage the culture and civic arena to take back what so many of our ancestors bled and died for.
These “Pearl Harbor Moments” aren’t where planes blow up ships. These “Pearl Harbor Moments” are more like epiphanies in our own minds where we realize: “Houston, we have a problem!”
Then, like the scientists who gathered to fix an impossible problem during the Apollo 13 flight, we need to build our own networks where we will impact change to help steer the ship right.
This repair job will not happen if “We the People” remain at the table eating the dwindling inheritance our forefathers gave to us.
We need to begin building an inheritance for our kids and grandkids! One they can be proud of. The inheritance I refer to is the blessings of Liberty and Freedom. These blessings were purchased at a great price. What are you willing to personally do to ensure we bequeath the same inheritance to our children that previous generations bequeathed to us? Or will you sit back and allow their inheritance to be used up in your lifetime?
I used Apollo 13 as an example, because it is a real story of hope and redemption. All odds were against bringing our astronaut’s home, yet not once did Gene Krantz and the team he assembled give up hope. Against all odds, they accomplished an impossible task.
I know many individuals have given up hope. Folks who believe America’s best days are behind her. There are individuals who are actually abandoning their businesses or reducing the sizes of their businesses, because our government has simply made it impossible to remain in business. The reason may be due to religious conscious issues, or outrageous regulations. Some individuals have left the country and every day more consider it.
What will be your “Pearl Harbor Moment?” Let me share a few of mine:
- U.S. Debt Crisis: In college, in the late 1980’s, I thought a lot about US deficit spending. As a Political Science major, I remember giving a speech about it in Public Speaking Class, when our total debt was a mere $ 2.8 Trillion! I was infuriated back then at the irresponsibility of our government. I did think about how I could get engaged in the effort to restrain government spending. From 1987 – 1991, the years I was in college total U.S. Debt grew by $ 1.3 Trillion. After a brief internship on Capitol Hill in 1990, it was obvious to me that the majority of those in power at the time did not take this issue seriously, so I decided to pursue business opportunities, rather than seek employment in Washington. From 2009 to today, the years my 21 year oldest son has been out of high school, total U.S. Debt grew by over $ 5 Trillion. Many of those in Washington during my internship in 1990 are still there. In fact, they are now in leadership. Speaker John Boehner has been in Washington for 21 years. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been in office since 1985. Pearl Harbor Moments! First during my 1990 Internship. Reinforced daily since 2008 when George Bush announced, “I have decided to abandon the free market system, in order to save the free market system! Here we are a generation later, and our rate of debt growth is 400 % faster than when I graduated from college.
- Work Ethic Crisis: Working in Operations Management in the service or retail industry for the majority of my career, I have seen first hand the declining work ethic of our citizenry, especially the youth. It breaks my heart to say that, in my opinion, the generation that responded to Pearl Harbor, the children from the depression era, would be ashamed to see many of their great grandchildren today. I could speak about it from my experiences running car wash or mechanic shops during my time in the rental car industry. I could share my experiences running logistics in the big box retail industry. Simply put, the idea that we need immigrants to do work American’s won’t do, is in large part because we have bred a generation to believe there is a certain level of work which is beneath them. This is perpetuated by an entitlement structure (government run) and parents who give their children so much that the concept of starting at the bottom and working your way up is no longer noble. Pearl Harbor Moment!
- Immigration Crisis: I know this issue will come up politically in the near future. Personally, I don’t believe we can have serious immigration reform without serious entitlement reform. This is extremely complicated but PART of the problem is for the reasons listed above, businesses seek migrant labor. It isn’t because they don’t want to hire Americans to do decent jobs. It is because they can’t hire Americans, even those who have been unemployed for months. I have two friends who run farms. Both friends for over a decade had the same migrant workers come each year to help during the season. In 2009 due to high unemployment, our government placed restrictions on their ability to have their migrant workers return. They were required to attempt to hire American’s in multiple states prior to having their seasonal workers return from Latin America. After investment of time and thousands of dollars, they were unable to hire Americans to do these tasks, all during a time period that government dependency has increased. I am reminded of Ben Franklin’s comment, “I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” Honestly, I don’t think that is a hateful comment, but it is an understanding that when you consistently provide basic needs for people, they become dependent upon it and unwilling to do for themselves what God gave them the capacity to do. Pearl Harbor Moment!
- Muslim Brotherhood Crisis: There is a “Silent Conquest” (please watch video for details) taking place in our republic, and just like our leaders have failed to deal with our debt crisis, our entitlement crisis, and our securing the border crisis, they are unwilling to deal with this crisis. Pearl Harbor Moment!
- Energy Dependence Crisis: The Department of Energy was created by Jimmy Carter in 1977 with the purpose of becoming Energy Independent. We are 35 years removed, and we are still dependent on our energy supply from the very individuals mentioned in my bullet point above! Pearl Harbor Moment!
- Growth of Government Crisis: One of the tasks in Operations Management has been to complete annual competitive wage survey’s, to ensure our compensation packages were in line with the market. This is not a poke at the thousands of outstanding government workers, but the reality is, the private sector funds the public sector. The sector that receives its funding from the private sector has compensation packages that for the most part far exceeds the compensation packages of majority of the private sector. So much so, thousands of citizens are more motivated to “Public Service” rather than building businesses. Reflect on that some, as our private sector decreases and public sector increases! Pearl Harbor Moment!
Have you had your “Pearl Harbor Moment” yet? What are you going to do with it?
Our children and our grandchildren will receive an inheritance. The Bible states in Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (NASB).
Our fathers and grandfathers who fought in WWII, who we remember today on Pearl Harbor Day, were children during the depression era. They came back from hard times and left us a tremendous inheritance. We owe it to them to do the same for our children.
Have you had your “Pearl Harbor Moment” yet? What are you going to do with it?