I was four years old, so I can't remember Pearl Harbor, but I do remember the day that Franklin Roosevelt died.
I was riding on my mother's grocery cart at the grocery store. When we got to the checkout counter, everybody was crying. And when my mother told me why, she began to cry, so I cried, too.
I can also remember the war years, when sugar and gasoline were rationed, and we ate margarine because there was no butter. And I remember going to three different schools in the first grade and moving back and forth to my grandmother's house as we waited for my dad to be drafted.
It turned our lives upside down, but I can't ever remember my parents talking about doing something heroic. It was just something that had to be done, and we were all in it together, and so they did it.
I guess that's why I've never been very comfortable with President Bush's admonition that the best way to fight the terrorists is to go shopping. I understand his logic, but there wasn't much to buy in World War II. It was the shared sacrifice of making do with very little that got us through that.
So I will do my duty this Christmas season and go shopping, but I will also remember Pearl Harbor and my father and mother and how they endured, first because I love them, but also because it helps me to understand what we are really capable of as a people when we all work together.
If we should ever forget what they did, we will risk forgetting what we can do. And only then will the terrorists win.
Remember Pearl Harbor.
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