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Have We Become Complacent Again?

More than 3 million West Virginians and Ohioans are not old enough to have any recollections of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. As memories of that horrific day recede, our national commitment to stamping out Islamic extremism is fading, too.

How much less is our determination to do what is needed to avoid a repeat of what happened on this date 78 years ago, then?

We recognize Dec. 7 every year as Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on our military bases in Hawaii that launched the United States into World War II. Only a handful of those among us remember the day, but it killed roughly the same number of people as the 9/11 attacks.

Among the more than 405,000 Americans who died fighting in World War II were 7,160 West Virginians and 24,550 Ohioans. Tens of thousands of others were wounded.

But their comrades in arms are passing from our midst rapidly. The global disaster that was World War II — and how close we came to a much worse outcome — are the stuff of history books, not personal memories.

And yes, our focus on preventing another such calamity has flagged with the passing years.

Does the vow to never again allow complacency to overcome prudence mean anything in 2019? We don’t know, honestly. But Pearl Harbor Day is a reminder of the cost of allowing that to happen.

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