Saturday, December 7, 2013

Seventy-two Years Ago Today

Seventy-two years ago today, America was waking up to the news of the worst attack on American soil in the history of our nation. Pearl Harbor had been bombed by Japanese pilots in a raid that murdered thousands of Americans stationed on that tiny island of Oahu in the South Pacific Ocean.

The mission was simple: destroy the American fleet in the South Pacific and gain military dominance to control that entire section of the world.

Shortly thereafter, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared war on the Japanese and brought us into World War II.

It had only been a little more than twenty-three years since the Great War had ended on November 11, 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles that ended the "War to end all wars." After what is now known as World War I ended and the United States became the greatest isolationist country in the world, we were thrust back into war that would take us to Asia, Europe and North Africa.

We fought against three dictators and allied ourselves with one. In very short time, the American fighting forces have become the largest and best-equipped military in the history of the world.

Notice in my description I used extreme terms like worst, greatest, largest and best. I did that for a reason. Granted, today marks the anniversary of what President Roosevelt called, "A day that will live in infamy."

It was only sixty years later when we had a new greatest attack on our country when more Americans were killed on September 11, 2001.

The problem I have with all these hyperboles is they are overused in our everyday speech and writing. How many times have you heard someone say something like, "This is the worst cup of coffee I have ever had."?

Another one is when a reporter is describing a story and he or she will say, "This is a parent's worst nightmare." Another one is when someone is describing a problem and they say, "This is the biggest problem I have ever had to deal with."

With our ever-changing technology and people writing and saying things that can go all over the world instantly, I believe we need to take a look at just what it is we are saying. I want to attach I hand out I have often used in workshops I call "50 Words I Never Use":

Click on the image to make it larger:

You may notice some discrepancies in my list. Please note this list is done purely with my tongue lodged in my cheek. I am positive there are many more words that could go on this list; I just thought fifty was a nice round number.

My whole point in writing this post is to get people to think about the words they use and how they use them. You may or may not agree with me; however, I believe our words are very important and we need to think about how we use them before we say or write them down. Was that really the best hamburger you ever had? Does everyone have a cell phone? Is that the stupidest thing you have ever heard? Is she really the smartest person in the room?

I promise to never post something like this again.

I look forward to your comments.



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