Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Date Which Will (Also) Live in (Lesser But Still Significant) Infamy

Aside from being my mom's and Larry Bird's birthday, Dec. 7 is also the anniversary of the surprise attack by the Japanese Navy on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The following day US President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt delivered speech to a joint session of Congress. During his address he referred to the previous day as "a day which will live in infamy." Less than an hour after completing his remarks a formal declaration of war was made and it was on. The US had entered WWII.

The day, Dec. 8, of the "infamy" address is also itself a date that has a tragic legacy. On Dec. 8 1980, John Lennon was gunned down outside of his apartment building in New York City. He was returning home when he was shot in the back. Although the assailant was captured and imprisoned there was no formal declaration of war. No famous piece of American oratory. There was, however, a moment of national shock when the news was relayed by sportscaster Howard Cosell during a Monday Night Football telecast.

Making the moment (slightly) more poignant was the fact that Lennon had previously been a guest in the booth with Cosell on Monday Night.

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