FCPS Student Speaks Out: West Potomac High School Disrespecting Pearl Harbor Veterans

“December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy” 

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

On December 7, 1941, the United States Navy was attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan, without a declaration of war. This sneak attack resulted in the death of over 2400 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously went before Congress and uttered the immortal phrase, that this date “will live in infamy”.

Although there are few survivors of the attack left, their stories have not died. Their bravery has been written down so that it can be shared with generations to come. Their honor, sacrifice, and service are qualities that every American should strive to achieve. While these men slowly pass on to the next world, we owe it to them to carry on their legacy.

At one Northern Virginia High School however, this message seems to have been lost. Students at West Potomac High School arrived to school like it was any other day. Some students wore red to support “Latinxs”, or Latinos, as part of the school’s “Diversity Week”. When the loudspeaker came on and the morning announcements began, students were told what “groups” the school was honoring  each day of the week, and how they had faced oppression throughout the years. They were told of certain clubs, activities, and games that were to take place in the near future.

One announcement was missing, however.

Nothing was mentioned about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not one word was uttered in honor of the brave young men who met their end on that fateful day 75 years ago. While most of America honored the day in solemnity, with the President, President- Elect, and Vice President-Elect all making remarks in one form or another, the administration at West Potomac did not see the importance of a quick announcement to pay homage.

This event is indicative of a larger cultural shift taking place in America. All too often today we forget the noble sacrifices made by our veterans. Winston Churchill said during the Battle of Britain that “never before has so much been owed by so many to so few”, in regards to the brave fighter pilots who took to the skies to defend their home. These words still ring true today. Our nation was built on certain unalienable rights, and when we forget why the founders entrusted us with those rights, and why we still have them today, we are in grave peril.

Our veterans gave all for our country, and frankly, are more deserving of an announcement than “oppressed” minority groups. Those of us who remember the importance of this date all how the world changed because of it are forever grateful for their sacrifice. We, just like the promise God made to Joshua, “will not fail thee nor forsake thee”.

Victor Fuentes

The writer is in the 11th grade at West Potomac HS in Alexandria, Virginia

[Follow Victor on Twitter @realVFuentes]