About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Let me tell you what a handy life skill blogging is. Its like telling people you are really awesome at filling things up with water. The literary equivalent of the girl with the great personality.

Dusty Scott



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 1/15/2018

Totals
Posts - 2475
Comments - 2570
Hits - 2,015,323

Averages
Entries/day - 0.47
Comments/entry - 1.04
Hits/day - 379

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 9:59 AM Pacific


  10:52 AM

Today is Pearl Harbor Day ... on December 7, 1941, the American naval fleet based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked in a preemptive strike. The Japanese military hoped to neutralize American forces in the Pacific long enough for the Japanese to secure various strategic goals, including supplies of oil. It was a calculated gamble that in the end, of course, did not pay off. By the kind of luck on which history turns, the fleet was not all docked at the time; three carriers -- the Lexington, the Enterprise, and the Saratoga -- lived to fight another day.

The more notable outcome of the attack was that it brought the US into WW II; up to that point, altho the US had favored the Allies, the country was still technically neutral. That changed within days, and the US war machine was set into motion.

In many ways, the US entered the war relatively unprepared -- much of its equipment was old and outmoded, and the military was woefully undermanned. However, the Japanese military planners had been correct; the US naval fleet was the key to military dominance in the Pacific. In the end, the Pacific campaign relied on the Navy for its "island-hopping" strategy that involved invading and securing one important island after another, in brutal battle after brutal battle. As at Pearl Harbor, the American forces got some lucky breaks that altered the course, if perhaps not the oucome, of the war. Not only did a few of the most important ships survive the Pearl Harbor attack, but at the Battle of Midway in 1942, the surviving carrier fleet, due in part to a couple of additional strokes of good fortune, won a decisive battle against the Japanese navy, which thereafter was on the defensive.

It's always fun to speculate how history might have gone differently. What if the Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbor? What if they had completely wiped out the fleet? What if the Americans had learned in advance of the pending attack? What if the Battle of Midway had gone differently? And so on. But history is what it is, and so we remember (hopefully) the day for what actually did happen.

Many people died on December 7, 1941; it was, as FDR memorably said, a day of infamy. It changed history and brought us to where we are today. Altho historical dates often seem boring to people ("some old guys did some stuff"), we should remember these and why they're significant to us today. We are living history every day ourselves, and knowing about the past can make us that much more aware of it.

Here's a picture of "Battleship Row" at Pearl Harbor today that my friend Steve sent me:



The battleship is (we think) the USS Missouri; the smaller structure in front of it is the USS Arizona memorial.

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