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Perspective: Infamy

Memorial wall at the USS Arizona memorial, Pearl Harbor
via Wikimedia Commons
Memorial wall at the USS Arizona memorial, Pearl Harbor

Eighty years ago today, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt called it a day that would live in infamy. Often my seventh graders had trouble with that term -- infamy. It’s famous but in a negative way. They questioned why we would want something to be famous in a negative way. If it’s bad, let’s forget it, set it aside because it’s hard to think about. They had a point.

People don’t like to remember bad days, even though everyone has them. They often stem from our missteps and poor judgment. If we pause to own and accept those missteps and poor judgment, we can learn from ourselves.

That works in our personal lives -- if we take time to acknowledge our mistakes.

But when our nation is attacked, we have to own the day differently. The Pearl Harbor attack crippled our Navy, killed over 2400 people, and brought our nation into a war that still shapes our nation. We must pause to remember even though it was bad. We pause to remember the pain and suffering. And we pause to hope we can find peace in the midst of our own turmoil. Bad things happen, and we have to acknowledge them. In doing so, we can begin to act and own them.

Today, take a moment to acknowledge that infamous attack 80 years ago. At the time it affected the whole world. And today we can hope to grow from it.

I’m Elsa Glover and that’s my perspective.

Elsa Glover is a national board-certified teacher who has taught in Kaneland schools for the last 20 some years.