Remembering Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Day

Remembering Pearl Harbor Day and World War Two Sepia toned collage of Mustang planes, WWII tanks and soldiers graves.The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, has been seared on the heart of Americans. We remember because we cannot forget.

Early in the morning, the sleepy stillness of a tropical paradise was rudely interrupted. “Tora! Tora! Tora! (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!)” Lieutenant Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, the lead bomber, commanded the other bombers at 7:53 in the morning, using the code-word for the Japanese Imperial Navy to begin their surprise attack over United States Army and Navy bases at Pearl Harbor.

Two minutes later, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was crippled. Ships lay at the bottom of the ocean. Planes were just smoking ruins. In two waves, from six different Japanese aircraft carriers, more than 300 planes attacked the American base with fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes. Four United States battleships were sunk and the other four were damaged. Other ships, subs, and planes were destroyed too. 4,000 Americans were killed or wounded.

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor a big surprise?

Well, it should not have been a surprise. Let me take you back in time.

A Power Shift

At the end of the 1800s, Japan was going through a huge shift. The shoguns were on their way out and the emperor’s power was increasing. Along with that, Japan was taking notice of what was going on over in Europe. After all, the Europeans were busy beavers in the Pacific with all kinds of colonies like French Indochina and Dutch Indonesia. Japan started thinking about colonizing sleepy little Korea.

When Prussia beat France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Japan saw Prussia as the one to imitate and became very militaristic. Even the emperor started dressing in military attire. In addition, Japan started moving in on Korea. China didn’t like it because China wanted to rule over Korea. They ended up going to war and Japan won in 1894! Her winnings were Port Arthur and Taiwan. She also got to kick China out of Korea. The Western world was not happy! They raised such a ruckus that Japan grudgingly gave Port Arthur back to China.

With China out of the way, Russia moved into Korea and started butting heads with Japan. This led to war and guess what? Japan won! Japan beat a European power! The world stood up and took notice! In 1910, Japan formally annexed Korea.

Making Deals

During World War I, Japan told England that she would fight Germany in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, but if she won the war, she would get Germany’s territories. Japan extended its territory by taking over Germany’s colonial possessions in China and Oceania.

In 1927, Japanese military leaders secretly drew up the Tanaka Memorial, a blueprint for armed conquest of the Far East. The plan was to drive the Westerners out of the Pacific and have “Eight Corners of the World under One Roof.” Japanese young men were taught from an early age how to engage in battle and taught that it was their duty to die if necessary to help Japan fulfill its divine destiny of conquest. Starting in 1931, each graduate of the Japanese naval academy had to answer this question: “How would you carry out an attack against Pearl Harbor?” and Japan invaded Manchuria.

Japan started creeping over the Great Wall to conquer the rest of the nation in the mid-1930s. Ruthlessly, the Japanese soldiers pillaged, plundered, raped, looted, and murdered 100s of 1000s of Chinese, remembered as the Ningling Massacre. Those who survived were enslaved. Westerners were thrown into concentration camps and many died in those camps.

In 1940, Japan signed a treaty with Hitler and Mussolini; the Pact of Steel. The United States was not happy with Japan’s behavior and economic sanctions and trade embargoes. “Hit ‘em where it hurts,” leaders rationalized. However, Japan dug their heels in, refusing to retreat or surrender. By the time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, she was already occupying Manchuria, China, Korea, Vietnam, and Formosa (Taiwan).

Japan’s Overall Plan

Early in the morning on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers headed to other destinations in the Pacific like the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Midway, Guam, Shanghai, Malaya, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. Japan’s goal was to get Western nations out of Japan and occupy all of the Pacific as a mighty empire. At 8:10, the USS Arizona was bombed, sinking with more than 1,000 men trapped inside. The USS Utah was gone, too. The other 7 ships were badly damaged. Dry dock, airfields, planes were all damaged. It was almost impossible to take to the skies, to fight back. Though the battleships were destroyed, all of our Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers were away from base and praise God, storage depots, repair shops, shipyards, and submarine docks remained intact.

Did America lay down and take defeat and refuse to fight such a formidable foe? No way! As the United States President Franklin Roosevelt said:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a day that will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.”

He asked Congress to declare war and added: “With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounded determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us, God!”

So Help Us God

To war, the United States went- facing a formidable foe. But, that determination paid off and though the first months of fighting were discouraging, the tide turned with the Battle of Midway. On December 7, we remember the devastation of Pearl Harbor, but that wasn’t the end of the story. On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies. World War II ended in victory!

Would you like to learn more about World War II and what Japan was like in the 20th Century? Check out the textbook, HIS Story of the 20th Century and to discover ways to teach 20th Century history the fun way with Teach 20th Century History the Fun Way. You can listen to my podcast: Life Lessons from 20th Century History: Pearl Harbor on December 2 at Finish Well Podcast.

Until Next Time,
Happy Homeschooling!
Warmly,
Meredith Curtis

Meredith Curtis, pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom of five amazing children, and grandmother to 3, loves Jesus, leads worship, homeschools, writes, mentors ladies, and sometimes even cooks dinner! She believes that all of life is a grand adventure with so much to learn and discover about Jesus. She is the author of Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, HIS Story of the 20th Century, Americana Newspaper Reporting, and God’s Girls Beauty Secrets, as well as Bible studies, unit studies, curriculum, and high school courses. Meredith wants to encourage Christian ladies and families to enjoy a joy-filled life filled with the Presence of God. Visit Meredith at Powerline Productions  jshomeschooling.com, meredithcurtis.com, at the Finish Well Podcast, and on Facebook. Find out how to get 50% off unit studies like the one mentioned for a limited time as part of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale at the webstore. 

Christian Heroes to Celebrate

October is a great month to practice thankfulness, so let’s thank God this month for our Christian Heritage.

The Bible tells us we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that are cheering us on (Hebrews 12). Who are these witnesses? Why, all the folks in Hebrews 11’s Hall of Faith. We also have heroes from history whose lives inspire us to stay the course and run the race.

Let’s meet a few!

Saint Patrick

Kidnapped by Irish pirates, Patrick finally accepted Christ while he was a slave in Ireland. He managed to escape and get home to England only to find that his godly parents were already in Heaven. Patrick pursued the Lord and grew in his faith, eventually sensing a called to the ministry and, believe it or not, to the Irish people. After years of training, he returned to the idol-worshiping people of Ireland and called them to repent and believe in Jesus. His ministry was an exciting one and I am happy to tell you that Patrick was used by the Lord to convert most of the Irish people to Christianity. He even had some power encounters with the druid priests who got their power from the forces of darkness.

Read more about Saint Patrick here.

Athanasius

During his lifetime, many people who claimed to be Christians did not believe that Jesus was God. Athanasius preached and taught tirelessly the truth of the deity of Christ, often facing persecution. Finally, Emperor Constantine called for church leaders to meet and write up a statement of faith: the Nicene Creed, declaring the Jesus is God of God, Light of Light, True God of True God.

Have you ever heard of the Nicene Creed? You might say it every Sunday if you are part of a traditional church. The truths contained in this creed is what all Christians agree on. We may disagree on baptizing infants or communion, but we can all agree that God created the world, Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of the Father, the Holy Spirit gives life, and everyone who believes in Jesus is part of the universal church.

Pope Gregory the Great

Born into a wealthy political family in Rome, Gregory gave up his wealth to become a monk, living an honorable life of service to God and people. It was hard for him to accept the call to lead the church as pope, but he did. He called his bishops and priests to a humble life of loving the Lord and people. He also wrote songs, created musical notation, unified the mass throughout Europe, and sent missionaries to England.

Read more about Pope Gregory the Great here.

Jan Huss

John Huss was a powerful preacher who discovered the works of John Wycliffe, emphasizing the need to make the Bible the center of life and doctrine. In Bohemia, Jan meticulously copied John Wycliffe’s works for others to read and discuss. He began to preach these truths himself, ushering in revival in his nation. Eventually, John Huss was burned at the stake for his disagreements with the pope.

Read more about John Huss here.

His teachings influenced Martin Luther.

Martin Luther

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther protested against the bad behavior going on in the Roman Catholic Church at the time. He reminded all of Christendom that “the just shall live by faith” and that we are saved by grace through faith. The good news is that the Roman Catholic Church did reform, but the bad news is that it was too late. The Protestant Reformation had begun resulting in numerous denominations and spreading revival across Europe. Now, instead of one church in Western Europe and America, there are more denominations than one can count. However, every denomination has been called to “Sola Scriptura” or making the Bible the center of faith and living.

Read more about Martin Luther here.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is one of my personal heroes. She served the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Saint Teresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia. Feeling God’s call to be a nun, she served the Lord in Ireland as a nun, training for her future. She felt a call to move to India and serve the poorest of the poor, doing it for Jesus Himself. Devoted to the Lord, she saw every life valuable, speaking out against abortion and urging Christians to love Jesus by serving others. She started “Missionaries for Charity, now active in 133 countries serving folks with AIDS, leprosy, and other illnesses, as well as the poor, orphans, and the uneducated. She took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Her followers do the same. She  won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, but more important she obeyed God’s Word by serving those who cannot serve you back. She is an inspiration to many.

I hope I have whetted your appetite to learn more about the great cloud of witnesses that is cheering us on from the pages of history. It is definitely worth investing our time in learning about our amazing Christian heritage.

Here are some resources for you:

12 Saints Every Christian Should Know

Our Reformation Sunday Celebration (this is how we celebrated Reformation Day one year with adults dressing up as godly reformers)

Have a Heroes for Jesus Party (a fun way to teach kids church history)

Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,

Warmly,

Meredith Curtis

Teach History by Throwing a Party

 

I love history!

I even pick up history textbooks and read them for fun. There! I admitted it!

However, not every child is born loving history. So, I have looked for ways to bring history alive, to make it fun. We read historical fiction, make timelines, look at maps, watch movies, make crafts, time travel in the kitchen,  create radio dramas, and write poetry.

We also throw parties to study history! We love to have fun when we homeschool.

Yes, we do!

 

 

     

We have had medieval banquets, archaeology digs, luaus, 1950s sock hops, Victorian teas, and Ancient Greek Olympics.

How Hard Is This?

Doesn’t that sound like a lot of work just to homeschool history? you ask.

Well, yes and no. We love parties, so I am motivated if it means people I like, good food, and lots of wholesome fun! My kids love parties, too.

Here is why we learn history when we plan an event like a sock hop or a medieval banquet. We have to research history to create an authentic experience. We dig deeper than normal to find out what they wore, what they ate, exactly what they did, where they did it, and why they did it.

When we planned our Ancient Greek Olympics, we learned that the games were a form of worship to their idol/gods. They opened each day by committing everything to one or more of the idol/gods or idol/goddesses. We decided to open our ceremonies in prayer and commit the whole event to Jesus. Then we learned about all the events and how they competed. In the process, we learned about Greek city-states and their relationships with one another. We discovered some funny stories along the way.

[Read more…]

Finish Well Like Daniel

Whether we have been homeschooling for years or just getting starting, if we are homeschooling high school, we are approaching the finish line. We want to Finish Well.

Throughout my years of homeschooling high school, Daniel has been an inspiration to me.

“Daniel who?” you ask.

Daniel from the Bible.

I love his story. Here he is, a young man with a great life in Israel, but his country is invaded by the Babylonians and he is taken away with some of his wealthy friends as a slave. He leaves everything behind, including the temple of the God He loves.

Why was he captured? Because to the Babylonian rulers, he had potential and promise. He was well-born and smart.

Our teens have potential and promise, too. That’s a big reason we are investing in them.

Making a Choice

As soon as Daniel is settled in, there is the temptation to disobey the Lord. He is brought food each day that is unclean. Will he break the Mosaic Law?

No way!

He resolves not to defile himself with the unclean food of the Babylonians because He belongs to the Lord.

He appeals to the guard and the guard agrees to let Daniel and his friends eat a different diet than the others—a diet that will honor the God of Israel.

Something really cool happened!

“At the end of ten days, they look healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away the choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four men, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds,” (Daniel 1:15-17 NIV).

Daniel’s Choice Leads to Blessing

Not only did God bless these young men, who took a stand for holiness, spiritually, but he also gave them knowledge and understanding of literature and learning.

I love that!

If we want to raise smart, godly kids, there is only one way to do it! Resolve to not defile them with the world’s ways, but instead always seek first the Kingdom of God. The Lord always blesses those whose hope is set on Him!

Our Ministry

Homeschooling high school is more than getting a teenager ready for college or a career.

It is a ministry. God has called us to educate our children and equip them for life.

We need to be like Daniel first if we expect our teens to be like Daniel. Resolve to teach teens God’s way, not the world’s way.

My goal to educate and equip my children for the life the Lord has called them to live’ Daniel inspires me to make plans that will be productive and effective toward that end.

Let’s Homeschool High School for the Glory of God!

If you would like equipping and inspiration for homeschooling high school, check out Unlocking the Mysteries of Homeschooling High School by Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette. Also, please visit us at Finish Well Radio where we encourage teens and parents to be world changers.

Happy Homeschooling!
Meredith Curtis

FW Radio – Heroes for Jesus

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An interview with Polycarp, David Livingston, Amy Carmichael, St. Augustine, Nate Saint, Corrie ten Boom, and Mary Slessor.

Travel back in time with the Finish Well team and meet some heroes from ages past. They will share a little bit about their life and give a word of encouragement to the church in the twenty-first century. At the end of the show, we will travel back to modern times and learn how these heroes have affected Christians of today. This would make a great presentation at your Fall Festival or Heroes for Jesus party.

Read more about the Finish Well Team at:

Finishwellcon.com
Joyfulandsuccessfulhomeschooling.com
Powerlineprod.com

FW Radio – Where Did My Day Go?

FW_001_Wheredmydaygo

An interview with Joshua Nolette, Jimmy Curtis, Linnea Brooks, and Sarah Joy Curtis

We talk to four homeschoolers on the Finish Well team about the challenges of managing time while homeschooling, even in a big noisy family. They share practical tips and ways to put Jesus first in everything, including managing your day.

Read more about the Finish Well Team at:

Finishwellcon.com
Joyfulandsuccessfulhomeschooling.com
Powerlineprod.com