2002-12-19 / View From the Middle

View From

The MiddleComparing Pearl Harbor And WTC Does Disservice To Some
By Charles Rogers

The Middle
Comparing Pearl Harbor And WTC Does Disservice To Some

"How could this be?" I asked my-self. "How could anyone criticize my column — especially since I felt I was so correct in my opinions regarding a relative comparison between the attack on the World Trade Center on Septem-ber 11, 2001 and the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 (sic), 1941?"

Correct is as correct does. Mr. Sher-man Rodowski of Lakeland, Florida properly took me to task with a letter-to-the-editor we published last week citing my references to that sad time in history and saying he felt I dishonored those who died 61 years ago and the people who died last year and that I "just don’t get it."

First, it is a rare, rare occurrence for me to answer a letter, except in the context of the Letter-to-the-Editor section. I don’t like to drag these things out, for one thing. Second, it just fo-ments more animosity between the letter-writer and me (especially since I have the last word!).

It is also rare for me to apologize on paper.

But that’s what I’m doing. To Mr. Rodowski and to others who might have been offended I must say I do "get it," but find no problem apologizing.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes was once quoted as saying, "Apology is only ego-tism wrong-side out," but I must say I am sincere in my feelings of compassion here. I too have been in the military and in battle (with the outcome not being the same. Nevertheless, I was indeed proud to have fought for my country) and I defy anyone to compare my experiences with anything else!

I must admit that it took a couple of screenings and re-screenings of my col-umn to see where a descendant of those who perished at Pearl Harbor might be disturbed when reading about that "Day of Infamy," especially when it is compared to any other event, including the disaster of 15 months ago. They are indeed two separate tragedies where the only comparison might be that our coun-try and our freedoms were under attack from outside forces, whether terrorist oriented or a full nation intending to take us over.

The intention of the column was, however, as stated: Pearl Harbor is something special and, in light of the events of recent years we must not al-low it to be either diluted or, heaven forbid, forgotten. It might have been ex-pedient for me to have brought up the topic, although the date prompted it. In defense, though, calling it "meaningless fluff" was Mr. Rodowski’s opinion.

Do I apologize? Sure I do, in no uncertain terms. In the cases of 9/11 and at Pearl Harbor, our country was attacked. It would be a disservice to take anything away from those who enlisted more than six decades ago to protect our country. I regret the fact that it appeared I took anything from them. They deserve the unending gratitude of all Americans.

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