My mother was born on December 7th. For the greater portion of her life that day was Pearl Harbor Day. Today, except for the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, it's mostly the 18th shopping day before Christmas. When the process of dropping Pearl Harbor from calendars began, I was somewhat incensed. It seemed wrong to neglect the one day each year that would "live in infamy." The Japanese and the Germans, as taught in the early fairy tale version of our schools and media, were evil. Later, their leaders were evil and they, like us, were as innocent as lambs. Then, with one thing and another, it became complicated.

Of course, the men and women who died that fateful morning were innocent, and should be remembered. The United States was wronged. We would never ourselves resort to preemptive strikes or secret attacks on foreign lands — unless we could do so with impunity. Things have become so complicated in recent years that remembering the dead seems almost paradoxical and counterproductive.

Our trading partners become close friends and our past, if remembered, becomes an impediment to future growth. It's a tough choice today between a Mercedes and a Lexus, or a Porsche and… I suppose there's no real competition for that one. We should remember, however, that one day they could all end up as Chinese sub­sidiaries. Who's to say any longer what's right and what's wrong? Things change. Time waits for no man. It's foolish to clutch the tattered flag of yesterday. And a hundred other clichés. Still, on this day of days, it seems terribly wrong to forget too easily.