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Petraeus Offers Unity as Greatest Lesson Learned on 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

December 8, 2021 by Kate Michael
Petraeus Offers Unity as Greatest Lesson Learned on 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

WASHINGTON — On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the attacks at Pearl Harbor, retired Gen. David H. Petraeus looked back at the lessons learned from the surprise military strike and America’s involvement in the Second World War. 

“There are some extraordinary lessons [from Pearl Harbor],” he said, serving as guest speaker at the 6th annual gala for Warrior’s Ethos, a service organization that helps veterans transition to successful and fulfilling civilian careers. “Above all what we should take from the response to Pearl Harbor was a recognition that there are times when the country needs to come together rather than continue to divide us.”

He reminded the audience that America was not united on the eve of World War II.

“[Some] really wanted to practice Fortress America… and there was not an eagerness to come together and come to the rescue of those Europeans or those who were embattled out in Asia.”

But the unprecedented attack was the impetus opposing groups needed to come together and put aside fractious concerns.

“We have plenty of those issues right now, and it seems as if we almost seize on those constantly rather than seizing on what actually should unite us. And there’s an awful lot that probably should unite us… at a time that has the most complex array of challenges since probably the end of World War II.”

Petraeus, running down a list of significant challenges around the world that the U.S. could face in the immediate future from both regimes and cyberterrorists, warned that threats “are getting ever more diabolically evil and nefarious and damaging.” 

“The democracies of the world, at the time when they are being challenged systemically by the rise of China and a completely different system, are experiencing populism, division, hyper-partisanship, and all the rest of that,” he lamented.

“What we should be doing is looking for those areas in which we agree, those issues in which we can move forward together, and try to grip arms and do it that way rather than continuing to divide ourselves, because that is not taking us on a good trajectory.”

Kate can be reached at kate@thewellnews.com. She was in attendance at the 6th annual Warrior’s Ethos Gala as a guest of gala sponsor H20.ai.

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