Titles will be won and champions will be crowned all over the college football landscape today. Headlines proclaiming great team and individual deeds, in the midst of fierce “battles”, will fill the Saturday night web sites and Sunday morning newspapers.
72 years ago today, a real battle was fought at Pearl Harbor and over 1,500 American champions lost their lives. The playing field had no boundaries. There were no rules as American service men and women were attacked without warning by the Japanese. No penalty flags were thrown for unnecessary roughness. They were not afforded a halftime to “make adjustments.”
These champions were not carried off on the shoulders of fans or teammates. Instead, they were taken to hospitals on stretchers, died were they fought or suffered a horrific end in a watery grave. They did not drape their school flag around them, but many were laid to rest in coffins draped with the American flag. They were never able to return and be honored at homecoming but taps is played in their honor every year.
It’s been over seven decades since these champions “played,” and time has faded their memory to a degree. Societal lamaze and the effort to quiet and rewrite America’s great history has done the rest.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the attack as “a date which will live in infamy.” It is our responsibility to see the champions of December 7, 1941 are always kept in the headlines.