Exceptionalism is a term President Obama has trouble ascribing to the United States without saying the Greeks and Brits are equally exceptional. Assuming his mindset is the result of a poor education in American history, allow me to assist.
On Dec. 6, 1941, America had a sleepy, peacetime military and a national sentiment marked by isolationism. On the following morning, the Japanese empire killed that by attacking Pearl Harbor, marking our entry into World War II.
Throughout the following three-and-a-half years, our wartime production went into overdrive. The American industrial might produced in that time 124,000 warships of all types, including 10 battleships, 27 aircraft carriers, 110 escort carriers, 211 submarines and 907 cruisers, destroyers and escorts, according to the National WWII Museum.
U.S. armorers manufactured 41,000 heavy guns and howitzers, 12.5 million rifles and carbines and 41 billion rounds of ammunition.
An estimated 2.4 million vehicles of all types rolled off assembly lines during that short period, including 800,073 2-1/2-ton trucks and 100,000 tanks and armored vehicles. The United States also designed and produced 310,000 warplanes for the war effort.
We poured 434,000 tons of steel to manufacture all this hardware, and milled 36 billion yards of cotton textiles to clothe our servicemen and women.
Our military gallantly fought and won the war on three continents — Europe, Africa and Asia — and time after time, performed the impossible, including Gen. “Jimmy” Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo using 16 B-25s deployed from aircraft carriers.
Nor was the engineering and scientific community idle during this time. In addition to designing new weaponry, navigation systems, bomb sights as well as advanced ships, planes and vehicles of war, the Manhattan Project invented, developed, tested and eventually deployed the world’s first atomic bombs.
Whether they should have been used or not is a question best left for philosophers and theologians. One thing is certain, They put an early end to the war in the Pacific. Germany was also close to developing its own atomic bomb. Had it been first, the war in Europe may have ended very differently.
All this was accomplished by what journalist Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation,” but the truly exceptional nature of its feats was that they were typical in our nation’s history. From our founders thumbing their noses at King George III and the pioneers’ expansion West, to our recovery from a bloody civil war, our emergence as a world power and the space program’s reach for the stars, examples of exceptionalism abound.
All President Obama had to do to continue our nation’s greatness during his own three-and-a-half years of historic opportunity was mind the store. He only had to speak the truth, keep his promises and see that a lousy website got off the ground. He was capable of completing none of these tasks.
When exceptional Americans are given their wings to do exceptional things, a nation is born, a war is won and men even make it to the moon and return to tell the story.
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