Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew the United States into World War II.
On the one hand, 70 years seems like a very long time. 70 years is a lifetime, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten," wrote Moses (Psalm 90:10.) The generation that fought World War II is dwindling; the youngest still living are in their late 80s, and, all too soon, they will be no more. There were some 84,000 American servicemen on Oahu when Japan attacked, but, today, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association only lists 2,700 members still living, and only 120 are expected to attend today's memorial service in Hawaii. 2011 saw the passing of the last World War I veterans, and there was only 20 years between World War I and World War II.
But, on an historical scale, 70 years is a very brief time. World War II is still very recent history that had a great deal to do with shaping the modern world in which we live. Ripples from those events still push driftwood up onto the shore of today. A knowledge and understanding of the events of 70 years ago are important in understanding modern times.
We also need to keep in mind a providential view of history. History is not a chronology of meaningless, however intricately interconnected, events. History has a purpose and an end that has been determined and decreed by the God who created the world and all that is in it. God decreed the wars of the 20th Century, as well as the wars of today, for His purposes and for His glory. Certainly, we are usually unable to understand what His purposes always are, but we know that He has a purpose. Nothing that occurs, however monumental or minor it may seem to us, occurs outside of God's will. His hand guides history.
Sometime today, I plan on watching Tora! Tora! Tora!, in my opinion, the best film about the attack on Pearl Harbor ever made.
Remember Pearl Harbor.