Guest Commentary: Historic milestones noted for this month

Posted 8/14/20

August is filled with historic milestones — three that changed the world and one that changed the U.S. political landscape.

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Guest Commentary: Historic milestones noted for this month

Posted

August is filled with historic milestones — three that changed the world and one that changed the U.S. political landscape.

Seventy-five years ago on Aug. 6, the United States delivered a defining answer to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The Pearl was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, and on Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. unloaded an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Just three days later in 1945, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Japan delivered its surrender Aug. 14, 1945, to then President Harry Truman.

Mr. Truman had been vice president only a few months when President Franklin Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. It was on that day that Mr. Truman was informed about a special project being worked on that was set in motion back in 1942 — the Manhattan Project and the building of a nuclear bomb.

Imagine becoming president after just three months of being vice president and then, just four months later, you make the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan — a decision that changed the world by introducing the age of nuclear weapons.

Late next year, we will pause and remember the 80th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. I have had the honor of standing next to military personnel who were present and survived the attack. Survivors not only gather at Pearl Harbor, they gather every Dec. 7 in downtown Phoenix where a memorial park is home to an anchor and signal mast from the USS Arizona, which was among the many ships lost at the Pearl. Like other Sun City West residents, I have also had the honor of standing on the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits over the ship in the Pearl as the names of the heroes lost stand before you on a wall of remembrance.

Only four days after the diamond anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the U.S., we have a much different anniversary. Aug. 18 is the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920 after many years of struggle to reach that goal, but Congress had passed the 19th Amendment on June 4, 1920.

There are a variety of demographics that help determine the outcomes of political races on the local, state and federal levels. From 1920 on into today’s election cycle, the female vote carries a lot of weight and, just a few months after the 100th anniversary of getting the right to vote, the decision they, including Sun City West residents, make at the polls or on a mail-in ballot will be a huge part of the outcome no matter who wins.

Editor’s Note: Gary Cohen is the host of the Rec Center Show on 103.1 KSCW that airs 8 a.m. Tuesdays.

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