Today is 9/11. Like many Americans I remember where I was when the towers fell. I was at school teaching history. A friend rushed in and turned on the TV. It was shocking to watch events unfold on live TV. I also remember how, as a country we pulled together. We cried as a country and our anger was inflamed as a united country. The unity that was felt in the weeks and months after the attack, are in desperate need now.
The Remembrance events taking place around the country today, make me think about other calls to action. Some were quickly taken up by the country, others fell to only a few true believers.
“A date which will live in infamy” President Roosevelt
December 7, 1941- hundreds of Japanese planes attacked the base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Here are the numbers:
- 200 planes were destroyed
- 20 Navel vessels destroyed
- 2,000 soldiers/sailors were killed
- 1,000 injured
After Pearl Harbor, the US declared was on Japan and entered into WWII.
Unlike Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Maine have not been proven. Without going into a history lesson, Cuba was a hot property. Tensions were high between the US and Spain. On February 15, 1898, an explosion tore a hole in the hull of the Maine and caused the ship to sink. 260 sailors died and the Spanish were blamed. Americans were furious and eventually war with Spain was declared.
My mother was from San Antonio, and we would take a pilgrimage to the Alamo every few years. We heard stories of the valiant fight put up by the men who died defending the mission. I’m sure no one else in Alabama heard these tales at dinner, but I was raised by a Texan. After 45years in Alabama, she is still a Texan.
Unlike the other calls to action. The Alamo was for a small group of people – Texans. The Alamo is actually a mission, a church. A small band of freedom fighters (182) led by Col. Travis chose to fight off a siege by Santa Ana. Not a nice guy by any accounts. The siege started on Feb. 23, 1836. Those fighting knew the Mexican force was much larger and that they would die and the Alamo would fall. Yet, they chose to die fighting for freedom. On March 2, 1836 Texas declared it’s independence. On March 6, the siege ended. Davey Crockett and James Bowie both died at the Alamo.
The Massacre at Wounded Knee is another side to US history. As a nation, we are not always on the right side. On December 28,1890- 300 Sioux were killed, along with 25 US soldiers. The Indians were unarmed, women and children were also killed. The massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and the Indian Wars. Wounded Knee has been involved in several call to actions, even as late as 1973. It was a sad day in our history, one of many. It deserves a spot on this list because it was revisited by AIM (American Indian Movement) in a standoff during 1973.
As you go along your day, take a minute and reflect.