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The holiday season brings into greater focus individual efforts that contribute to a community’s good.

Our area is rich in fairs and breakfasts and raffles that on one hand, raise money for a worthy cause, and on the other, offer the very special events that make New England so warm and unique.

This past weekend, in each of our towns, events were held that celebrated the holidays. Our pages are filled with Santas and children and parents, and with a myriad of colors and shapes as fairs offered hand-made goods as special gifts for those we care for.

In news reporting, we are very aware of the difference between a town and a community. A town is defined as a land mass with a given population and prescribed boundaries, while a community is simply the people living in an area or the area itself. It suggests a common interest, a common history.

Pope John Paul II once wrote, “…A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people, must give it this soul.”

That is what community events likes these do. They create community. And as important as those who make these fairs happen are those who attend, thereby making a community and a home.

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” – John Ed Pearce, columnist, writer

Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Thus drawn into World War II, 16.1 million men and women would serve; over 400,000 would die.

…At 7:55 a.m. on that Sunday morning on Dec. 7, at the Command Center on Ford Island, Commander Logan C. Ramsey saw a low-flying plane from his window and watched “something black fall out of that plane.” He realized it was a bomb.

In the radio room, he ordered the telegraph operators to send out an uncoded message to every ship and base: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT DRILL.

The coordinated attack began. The Japanese hoped to take control of the airspace by destroying U. S. airplanes on the ground. The attack continued for three hours.

…At 10:30 a.m., from destroyed airfields and severely damaged ships, the wounded walked or were carried to hospitals. Their injuries were horrible. Every available building was turned into a hospital to treat the wounded. For many, wounds were fatal. Morphine was the only recourse. A large M placed on their foreheads by nurses with lipstick indicated their status.

The death toll reached 2,390.

In the war that followed, every one of the Japanese aircraft carriers, battleships and cruisers involved in the attack were sunk by U. S. forces. When the surrender was signed in Tokyo on Sept. 2, 1945, included among the U.S. warships in Tokyo Bay was the U.S.S. West Virginia, a victim of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On the day following the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his speech before the Congress, “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

“As commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense …

“Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.”