December 8th

Yesterday was the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The date and the event will be among the most significant in American history for as long as there is a United States of America. My wife and I watch the excellent move Tora! Tora! Tora! every year around this time to remind ourselves of the significance of the date and the fact that it still affects our lives. The next day, FDR delivered his stirring "date which will live in infamy" speech, and about an hour after that Congress declared war on Japan.

I write about the Cold War, and many if not most of the first round of Cold War warriors began their careers the day of FDR's speech, December 8, 1941, a Monday. When I wrote Switchback, I decided a nod to those men was in order so I included a note in Nick Temple's personnel file to the effect that he enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. I gave Ted Durant, a supporting character in The Heraklion Gambit, the same distinction. That's an author's prerogative: a small homage to thousands of men who without hesitation selflessly responded to as clear a call of duty as our nation has ever made.