D. Gary Davis
Words have meaning. Words can also do more than express thoughts; they can alter and even preserve history. This weekend we get to remember "A day that will live forever in infamy”, December 07, 1941. Before the corrections and final draft this day was almost remembered as "a day that will live forever in world history”.
Using the resources available today I visited the webpage of http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/day-of-infamy/ and discovered many interesting facts concerning this somber, yet inspiring use of words to capture emotions, evoke actions and to unify support.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt used this pivotal point in time to consult with congress and received the unanimous support of the Senate members and received only 1 dissenting vote in the House from Montana pacifist Jeanette Rankin. This bipartisan support for a declaration of war was received, and signed into law, in only 210 minutes. And this action was also performed before the days of cell phones, computers and the multitude of office associates as well.
I also have found the location of the attack to be of importance to the use of words and definitions as well. Pearl Harbor. Unlike gemstones which are mined from the earth and then have to be cut or polished to bring out their beauty, a pearl starts as a foreign object that lodges itself in the soft inner portion of the oyster. To ease the irritant the oyster then takes defensive action and begins to encapsulate the object in order to protect itself. Over time this process totally encases the object until ultimately all that is seen is the lustrous gem called a pearl. Harbor is also similar in that the noun describes a place on the coast where vessels may find shelter, but the verb allows a choice to be made. One may either keep (a thought or feeling, typically a negative one) in one’s mind, especially secretly or one may give a home or shelter to someone else.
Most of us have been taught about that fateful day from school or from historical research. Bradley County is blessed to still have a resident, Mr. George Allen, who was at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day and witnessed this event in history for himself. I have known Mr. Allen for several years and consider him a dear friend. I love to hear him talk about that day in 1941. Join me and many others at the TFW on Sunday December 7 at 2:00 p.m. for a commemoration ceremony. "This country will always remember the sacrifices that the brave Americans endured and those who perished during the attack on December 7, 1941”.
May we use this time to remember, reflect and resolve to learn from those actions by all sides not only on that date 73 years ago but each and every day that we are given upon this earth. That there are both choices and consequences to all decisions and that both actions and reactions are also part of this life each and every day as well.
We may hold onto negativity or we may encourage and help others along the way. I am honored, as your Bradley County Mayor, to remember the brave in the past and present and encouraged to live in a community that on this day that truly did alter world history chooses to encourage and protect what is valuable, each other. Thank you for continuing to represent Bradley County by what truly is Tennessee at its best!