Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Our opportunity to commemorate December 7, 1941.
“A day that will live in infamy.”
Over 2400 service men and civilians were killed.
1100 were injured.
I’m sure that on that day, it felt as though the entire world was ending.
The events that the attack on Pearl Harbor put into motion inarguably altered the course of history as the United States entered World War II.
Why are we giving you a history lesson today?
Well, to begin with, we do so to honor the men and women who gave their lives that day and, in the days, and years following.
We do so as a way to celebrate the strength that is a part of our national DNA.
And, we do so to show that we have had our challenges in the past. Those world-ending moments that seemed so bleak at the time.
Our history as a nation is full of life-shattering, world-ending moments where in those darkest times, we feared that it was all over.
But we have prevailed. Every single time.
A little battered, bruised and worse for wear, but there all the same.
But, even today, you may not be ready to hear a glass half full speech.
Right now, you’re burnt out on optimism. Maybe your world hasn’t ended, but it has definitely stopped spinning momentarily.
And that’s okay.
We can’t always be eternal optimists. In fact, that can do more harm than good because it prevents us from taking in the whole picture and effectively coping with the issues at hand.
But at the same time, we have to intentionally search for those things that will keep a tiny spark of hope burning for the day when our world starts turning again.
We would do well to try what General James Stockdale, the namesake of “The Stockdale Paradox” suggests,
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end–which you can never afford to lose–with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
General Stockdale kept this mindset while he was held in a Vietnamese P.O.W camp for seven years, during which despite enduring endless torture, he found a way to stay alive by embracing both the harshness of his situation with a balance of healthy optimism.
The brutal facts of our reality have made themselves known for the better part of a year, and it would be absolutely reckless and downright dangerous to ignore, but we also need to make sure that we hold tight to the belief that we will prevail.
So today as we honor and remember those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor, we must also remember that we are descendants of that spirit of resilience.
And we just keep going.