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Two major events have helped shape our lives

I have two momentous events to talk about this week — one that happened Monday and the other is happening this coming Monday.

Here’s the first one. Monday marked the end of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. This season was a record-setter with 30 named storms — the most for any year since meteorologists have been keeping records of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin. If you’ve been saying, “I can’t wait for 2020 to end,” here’s the first indication it is coming to an end.

The 2020 hurricane season produced its share of violent storms, including three — Laura, Delta and Zeta — that hit the Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Coast and moved inland. Warren County was threatened twice and dodged the bullet both times.

Experts believe the pattern of more and violent storms are expected to be the norm in future years, thanks to global warming, and to you doubters, take a little time to do a little research and you’ll find the evidence is there.

As one who grew up in Louisiana and lived for 10 years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I’ve been following and reading about hurricanes for a long time. One of the first things I do when hurricane season starts is to go to the National Hurricane Center website and check the buoys in the Gulf. I’ve noticed that each year the water temps have been getting warmer than the year before. And while it takes a lot of factors to help a hurricane develop, deep warm sources of water are one of the keys.

It soon might be that living way inland, especially in states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, might not be as safe as once believed. Look back at Katrina and Ivan.

My second big event goes back in history. Monday, Dec. 7, marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — the day President Franklin Roosevelt called “a day that will live in infamy.”

There is no doubt the weekend will be filled with documentaries and probably movies about Pearl Harbor. I will remember the day by watching “Tora, Tora, Tora,” a movie about Pearl Harbor that looks at the attack from the American and Japanese sides. I may also watch movies about Bataan and Wake Island, which were attacked by the Japanese after Pearl Harbor.

The attack on Pearl Harbor is a significant event in American History. It forced America into World War II (although some may argue America would have entered eventually) and in the process turned the nation into a superpower. Many people of what has been called the greatest generation will always remember where they were and what they were doing when the attack came, same as people of my generation remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

So as we gratefully approach the end of 2020, let’s take time to look back at things like hurricane season and COVID-19 and other events of the year and remember that they, just like Pearl Harbor for an earlier generation, changed our lives and our country. Whether these changes are for good or bad will depend on us.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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