This week, our nation commemorated the 75th anniversary of one of its most pivotal moments. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on a Sunday morning, resulting in massive casualties of more than 1,100 US service members. With such a blatant affront to the country’s freedom, the United States could no longer remain an isolationist nation. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt prepared his remarks to address his wounded country, he had to think carefully to balance his peoples’ need for a rallying cry with the ramifications of his words on United States foreign policy. December 7, 1941, the “Day of Infamy”, called the Greatest Generation to action.
While many of us are old enough to be blessed with interacting with these men and women who sacrificed so much, our future students will be tasked with understanding the impact of global war without the privilege of speaking with first hand witnesses. As our parents and grandparents pass away, we must take the charge of carrying the vivid memories into the next century of learners.
This presents an excellent opportunity to incorporate visual and auditory primary sources into the classroom. Whether you’re teaching an entire unit on World War II or simply seeking a few images for students to examine, Pearl Harbor provides stunning images for student investigation. The art behind the propaganda that followed is also worth exploring in a discussion about the power of imagery.
Included below are a variety of visual resources, lesson plans, and other sites within the LOC website to help integrate these memories into your teaching. As the Greatest Generation fades into our nation’s memory, we owe them the debt of our freedom to continue sharing their stories with generations to come.