I Guess Remembering “The Maine” Is Out of the Question

Hey, Matt: What was this? Anybody?

Hey, Matt: What was this? Hello? Anybody?

I was going to write a depressing post about how neither the Washington Post nor CNN, nor the Today Show (though I missed some of it, and can’t be completely sure) bothered to mention Pearl Harbor this morning, on the anniversary of the day when a sneak air attack by Japan nearly destroyed the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor at Oahu, Hawaii. 2,335 U.S. servicemen and sixty-eight civilians died in the attack, as 1,178 soldiers and civilians were wounded. The tragedy launched U.S. participation in World War II, which took another 416,000 American lives among the horrendous 60 million killed in that conflict. Naturally, none of this was deemed worthy of mention by our journalistic establishment, or perhaps they just forgot. After all, the Grammy nominations were announced last night.

Then I caught this exchange among Harold Reynolds, Ken Rosenthal, and host Matt Vasgersian on the MLB Network’s live off-season show, Studio K, leading into a story about the Philadelphia Phillies obtaining outfielder Ben Revere in a trade yesterday:

Vasgersian: Years ago, a guy named Paul Revere rode through the streets of Philadelphia. Now another Revere, Ben, will be patrolling the outfield in that city…

Rosenthal: What? Paul Revere wasn’t in Philadelphia!

Vasgersian: Where was he?

Rosenthal: He was up in…Massachusetts.

Vasgersian: Whatever.

Pearl Harbor, Paul Revere…whatever.

Remember the United States of America?

Heaven help us.

18 thoughts on “I Guess Remembering “The Maine” Is Out of the Question

  1. Given the murky circumstances surrounding the explosion on The Maine on 15 Feb 1898, I wouldn’t put it in the same category as “Pearl Harbor”. How about: “Remember the Gulf of Tonkin!”?

  2. “…December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy…” FDR had the true of it, but I don’t think the infamy he had in mind was that succeeding generations would find it too much trouble to remember. There is a ray of hope, however. Hawaii is as popular a vacation spot as ever, and the most popular man-made attraction in the islands is the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. Maybe all those people visiting aren’t taking anything away from the experience, but I doubt it. It does make an impression.

  3. Yep. Ignorance of history is what dooms peoples to repeat it. And today, some say, in Syria there is a threat of an open-air gas chamber being created by yet another tyrant’s orders – against his own fed-up/liberty-starved subjects – a mere Scud missile ride away from the homeland of the descendants of people who suffered and died in gas chambers of recent yore. “What was that problem in Arkansas? Elvis? Oh yeah, that’s it, must’ve been because of him – that’s why the Army had to go into all those “Little Rock Schools” and calm them young ‘uns down. Whatever…”

  4. I noticed surprisingly sparse attention given to the Kennedy assassination on November 22 this year. The lack of mention on the anniversary of that infamous day made me wonder, had it too slipped into the twilight zone of historical trivia. It would be sad to think so.

    • I would have written about it, too, except that it fell on Thanksgiving this year, and I was away from the office and otherwise engaged. I think when the 22nd lands on another holiday, some slack is in order. You know, like when Lincoln’s birthday lands on Valentine’s day…

  5. The USS Maine tragedy was likely caused by a design flaw in the ship and poor engine room procedures. The Spaniards certainly had nothing to gain by destroying the ship while it lay at anchor in Havana harbor. It was (like the RMS Lusitania incident) the straw that broke the camel’s back. Spain had learned nothing from their loss of the rest of Latin America in their colonial rule. The incident was notable inasmuch as the war it sparked led to America’s entry as a world power and its reunification from the aftermath of the War Between the States. The saga of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (the Rough Riders) at San Juan epitomized this, as its ranks incorporated such diverse elements as Texas cowboys and New York polo players- all under the command of a fiesty New Yorker turned westerner.

    The Maine incident ought to be remembered. That TV commentators of any stripe failed to mention Pearl Harbor (or know about Paul Revere!) is reprehensible. Every kid I went through school with not only knew these things, but likely had to sit through a class recital of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” sometime. I did! And my gym coach did the reciting!!

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