Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Christmas

I know the politically correct thing to say at this time is Happy Holidays, lest we offend someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas, but I feel like being a rebel today. Besides that, I don't get the least bit offended when someone says Happy Hanukka or Happy Kwanzaa.

Those wishes mean something special to the folks who celebrate those holidays, the same way Merry Christmas means something special to me, and it doesn't take anything away from me for people to express their good wishes the way they want to.

If we all spent more time living up to the inherent meaning in all these holidays and expressions of good will, there could be no offense taken at how people express them. There wouldn't be a "we" and "them" mentality that makes us more protective of our rights.

So my hope for all of us is to have a season of peace and a sense of inclusion instead of exclusion.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Remembering Pearl Harbor

I recent years I have noticed that people don't seem to make such a big deal out of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It used to be practically a national holiday and news sources would be full of stories about the tragic day, stories that would lead in the news.

Today, while looking at a few online news sources, I did not see lead stories about Pearl Harbor. The tragic mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska, still leads, and I found that disquieting. Here was a young man who killed a lot of people because he was troubled, but also because he thought it would bring him fame. And it has.

But measure the worthiness of that story as compared to the worthiness of remembering what men and women suffered on Dec. 7, 1941.

It would have been fitting for the story about Everett Hyland, who was aboard the USS Pennsylvania on December 7, 1941, to be the top story in publications today. The Pennsylvania was dry-docked that day, so it did not suffer as much damage as some other ships, but Hyland clearly remembers shipmates dying and being injured. Not for fame, but just because they were doing their duty.

He will join some 50 survivors and hundreds more family members and officials at a Pearl Harbor pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial to honor the attack's victims.This year, survivors and their family members are dedicating a new memorial for the USS Oklahoma, which lost 429 sailors and Marines -- the second greatest loss of life among any of the battleships in Pearl Harbor.