Should have stayed home yesterday?

Well, if I mention this is the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour, and the video relates to the climax of said event, you might have worked out what it is already?

No, I’m not going to bore you, or otherwise by going through the events of that fateful day, I could only copy large chunks of Wikipedia and the like if I did that anyway. So yes, if you want that, go visit Wikipedia. What I’m going to tell you is a side story to the event, which I only know about thanks to ESPN.

In those days, when the college football regular season ended, that was pretty much it, get on with the awards, and wait for the next season. There were a few bowls of history, like the Rose Bowl, but nothing like the 39 we are having this year! Part of that was down to the fact that whereas now, a team from California can get to the East Coast in a few hours, back then you were talking several days, by train!

So, in those days, the selection of, and awarding of the Heisman Trophy, to the best player of the year wasnt some massively hyped TV event, because most people didnt have TV! So, by the beginning of December 1941, it was already announced that the winner of said award was Bruce Smith, a running back from Minnesota. Therefore on the 5th December 1941, he set out for New York, to receive the award, 2 days later. He had his acceptance speech prepared before he reached New York, on the morning of the 7th December, when he heard the news about Pearl Harbour, and the inevitability that the US was going to war with Japan.

So basically, the speech got a total rewrite, and was squeezed into a radio presentation on the 9th December, shortly before Roosevelt made it official, that America was now at war with Japan. The rest, as they say, for the next 4 years or so, is written in history. Bruce Smith clearly was one of the fortunate ones who survived the war, given that the short documentary included his 2 sons. Sadly, many millions didnt, on all sides.

Of course, this war ended with a first. Not necessarily a good first, but a first, all the same. Yes, thats right, the 2 nuclear warheads dropped on Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, that finally forced Japan into surrender.

Smith finally did get to play in the NFL after the war, for Green Bay, and the Los Angeles Rams, but much of his career was lost to the war. Also sadly, he didnt have a long life, dying at the age of 47 from cancer, in the days long before all the modern treatments for that ghastly disease.

So yes, on this day, let us remember all those brave people that died at Pearl Harbour on that fateful day, in the war that followed, but lets also remember the guy whose life was changed while travelling on a train.

OK, the video is the one I hope you’ve worked out. A live version from 2016, rather than the regular video, which I’ve probably used before

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