(Commentary)-On Saturday, the day before the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States saw another kind of history being made. In Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao ousted Democrat William Jefferson from the congressional seat he’d held for 17 years. Cao is the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress. Cao came to the U.S. when he was a child after politicians abandoned the war effort begun by John F. Kennedy and Saigon fell in 1975. In America, Cao became a lawyer.
Jefferson faces trial on bribery charges.
Sunday morning talk shows made no mention of either event. Ironically, ‘Sunday Morning’ on CBS did a segment about ‘stop-loss’, a military procedure for keeping troops in the service involuntarily after their term of service has technically been satisfied. ‘Face the Nation’ took up the auto bailout, but mentioned neither Pearl Harbor Day nor Cao's historic victory.
The U.S. Naval Historical Center describes the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 as “[o]ne of the great defining moments in history.” USNHC says, “[a] single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.”
Scant attention is paid to Pearl Harbor Day now. Japan and the U.S. are friendly. Vietnam is no longer considered a hostile nation. After Saigon fell, more than 1,000,000 refugees fled Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Congressman-Elect Cao, if you think about it, perfectly symbolizes the American Dream.
And if you think about Pearl Harbor Day when more than 2,400 Americans died defending their country, that ultimate sacrifice is one of the reasons all of us have a shot at the American Dream.
We congratulate Cao on his victory and we offer remembrance and respect for those who died at Pearl Harbor.