Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. It is a day that changed that generation for years to come. As we reflect about that horrific day in December, it brings into focus other events of different generations like The Challenger exploding just after take off. I spoke with Jane Klekamp who is considered to be part of Generation X. She can still recount the catastrophe to this day. Jane noted, "There was a woman on board, she was a teacher, which is really unique. So it had all sorts of... it really resonated with me. I remember standing in the hallway of that building and watching the Challenger explode and just being so shocked that it had happened. I think that we thought space travel was pretty safe at that time."
Through the tears and anguish felt in the aftermath of the explosion, Jane says that there was a sense of hope through it all. However, the aftermath of 9/11 had Millennial's feeling anything, but hopeful. This was a date, years later, that is still looked upon with fear and uncertainty for the future by many from the Millenial generation. Brooke Kellicut, a student at UW- La Crosse remembers that date that changed the history of her generation. Brooke said, "You really do worry about what's going on and what will happen in my future. At that point, when something as tragic as that happens, you don't know what's going to happen next. You don't know what's going to happen to you, your family, the country, the world. I really do feel that 9/11 did change a lot."
Pearl Harbor brought forth what is known as the "Greatest Generation". They lived through fear in hopes for a better future even though their society's landscape had changed forever. Keith Knutson, a history professor at Viterbo University, explains the historical aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
Keith describes Pearl Harbor as a turning point in United States history. "Pearl Harbor takes us into World War 2. And at the end of that war, as compared to the end of World War 1, our society takes on our global leadership roll. So we begin to construct international defense systems, NATO is the most famous. The international monetary fund, the world bank. That is the international trading system that is the basis of globalization today."
So no matter the generation; no matter the devastation. Whether we live in fear or whether we live in hope. All of us can learn so much from "The Greatest Generation" that kept America strong for many years to come.