Today's my birthday, which is significant for a couple of reasons.
1. I'm turning 27 for the sixth or seventh time (not sure which - I've lost count).
2. Today marks the 70 th anniversary of the infamous, devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.
I'm not writing about my b-day for personal attention purposes, although anyone is welcome to shout it from the rooftops, if you so choose. Instead, every year of my life I've been reminded that December 7 is more than just a really cool excuse for cake and a party. I owe that largely to my patriot father, who was both a United States Marine and a high school history teacher. Everyone in my family is aware of any event, minor or major, that occurred on our birthdays. Naturally, in my own particular idiom, mine is the largest and probably the most tragic historical occurrence.
Read More: How My Daughter Learned About War
Although many of you know exactly what Pearl Harbor Day commemorates, chances are pretty high that your own kids have little to no background on what makes this day important in the fabric of our country's history. Little kids don't need to know much, obviously, other than the fact that brave soldiers defended our own soil from enemy attack. Older children are old enough to grasp the concept of sacrifice (2,400 Americans died and 1,100 were wounded) and the fact that the attack on Pearl Harbor woke the "sleeping giant" of the United States, spurring us to become involved in World War II on an enormous scale.
Obviously, due to the passage of time, people who experienced the tragic day firsthand are rare. If you're lucky enough to have someone around to give your child an informal lesson in how Pearl Harbor Day changed the country, by all means take advantage of it. Someday, we'll be the ones our great-grandkids turn to for accounts of September 11, 2001. Although these certainly aren't the cheeriest topics, they're vital to giving our children an appreciation for the freedoms they enjoy, which clearly came at a cost that's impossible to calculate.
This post was written by Alia Hoyt.