December 7th marks the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Naturally, headlines are full of remembrances of the dead and honors for the living.
But in reading through headlines, one concern in particular keeps resurfacing. That concern is that the younger generation does not know, nor does it care about, what went on during that “day of infamy.”
The following account from the Chicago Tribune is a case in point.
“[John Terrell] and Joe Triolo of Zion and Everett ‘Jim’ Schlegel of Elgin are the only remaining Pearl Harbor survivors in northern Illinois, according to John O'Gorden of Naval Station Great Lakes. …
Triolo is especially concerned about the younger generation, wondering why schoolchildren are not taught more about the Pearl Harbor attack; and why old survivors like himself are rarely invited into classrooms anymore.
‘Students have so many advantages and attractions, they forget everything else,’ he said. ‘They have to go back to history to be successful and informed.’”
Unfortunately, Triolo’s concerns are more accurate than many of us realize. The following comment about Pearl Harbor left on one of Intellectual Takeout’s social media pages today puts this problem into sharper focus:
In his book The Founders and the Classics, Professor Carl Richard notes that the American Founders held history in high esteem, largely because:
“History was not merely a pleasant pastime, but a guide to action. Knowledge of the past might prevent its repetition.”
Today only 12 percent of American high schoolers are proficient in history. If students continue to remain clueless about major events such as Pearl Harbor and the war it led to, should we be at all surprised if they end up facing similar problems in the years ahead?
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures
Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout.