SCARSDALE, N.Y. It was 70 years ago Wednesday Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed the American Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack and more than 1,100 more were wounded. The attacks sank four U.S. battleships, damaged four more, and sank or damaged several others. Nearly 200 planes were damaged.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation and declared the date as a day that would live in infamy. For those who remember the attack that propelled the U.S. into the war in the Pacific, it is a day they will never forget. But for many younger Americans, some Scarsdale residents said, the attack is becoming a footnote in history, a tragic event eclipsed by the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, D.C.
There were no Pearl Harbor Day events planned for Scarsdale this year; no special programs in the schools, according to Scarsdale schools spokesperson Vicki Presser.
Thomas Adamo, commander of American Legion Post 52 in Scarsdale, was too young for World War II but is a veteran of the Korean Conflict. He is concerned with what he sees as the fading significance of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
"If you are not 70 years of age or older the meaning of Pearl Harbor is lost," Adamo said. "I sometimes wonder why our education system is lacking in teaching about all wars, but especially about Pearl Harbor. Our country was almost brought to occupation by a foreign nation, and who but those alive from that period realize how close we came to speaking Japanese or German?"
Scarsdale attorney and Town Justice Jeffrey Levin said people have forgotten Pearl Harbor.
"And years from now, they'll forget 9/11," he said.
He said the same held true for another date no one at the time thought would ever be forgotten: Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
While Pearl Harbor Day is not a Federal holiday, it is a national day of remembrance. Traditionally, U.S. flags are flown at half-staff until sunset in honor of those who died in the attack.
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