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Musings of a Beer Goddess
at 10:43am on 12/09/2014
I agree with much of what others have already said in comments above me. One important aspect I think that hasn't been mentioned is that there is a great political interest in continuing to dwell on the attack, as a justification for both military action overseas and an increasing culture of fear at home.
There wasn't a similar continuing political interest after the assassination of President Kennedy, not for long. Johnson pushed through legislation like the Civil Rights Act invoking the memory of JFK, and I do think the memory of Kennedy's commitment to a moon landing contributed to the success of that goal. Beyond that, though? Five years later America voted in the man Kennedy had defeated.
As for Pearl Harbor, there was a clear and defined end to that war. After VJ Day--less than four years later--the Japanese were the defeated enemy under occupation, and no threat at all. Soon after that, they were America's vital allies in their fight against Godless Communism in Korea.
By contrast, America's still in Afghanistan, and once again America's engaged in combat in Iraq. The United States has been at continuous war since the invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It's not really surprising that during this continuous war there's an annual day of dwelling on why the war continues to be fought.
I'm not saying this is all a conspiracy. Nonetheless, there is a definite interest served by having this annual commemoration. Many uncoordinated actors can act independently and still reinforce each other.
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