News Brief: Tragedies compared to Pearl Harbor

Many have compared Tuesday’s attacks to another devastating tragedy: Pearl Harbor. Some say the campus’s response to the recent attacks is similar to the response after the 1941 Japanese attack.

The headline of the Dec. 9, 1941 Hatchet printed two days after the attack reads, “Students Voice Approval of War Effort, Speed School Plans at Mass Meeting.” The front-page story ran alongside other stories about campus events. The actual attack is mentioned only briefly on the front page, but on page two is a review of the “Jap” strategy.

Former University President Cloyd Heck Marvin addressed students at the university’s gymnasium Dec. 8, according one article.

“Our university is ready to carry on,” he said. The walls of the gymnasium “echoed and re-echoed” with the students’ “thunderous approval.”

Earlier in the day, Marvin met with faculty, where he “rededicated the University to the `service of the Nation.'”

“We say to the president, `We stand with you; we are ready,'” he said.
Like last Tuesday, classes were cancelled following the Pearl Harbor attack, but only from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A statement by Marvin printed on the front page is dire but hopeful, beginning with “We are at war.” On Tuesday President George W. Bush called the apparent terrorist attacks an act of war.

A staff editorial in the following issue, Dec. 16, addresses the mood on campus:
“The effect of war on this campus, after a week’s observation, is a deep, internal restlessness in the individual student.”

The military draft had been in effect for a year, and the editorial cited some student fears while encouraging them to enlist.

The Dec. 16 Hatchet also provides a candid article on “Tips to GW Students On Staying Whole in Bombings.” The article also attempts to calm students, mentioning the strength of University buildings.

“The construction of the new buildings here makes them as efficiently bombproof as any buildings in the city,” the article reads.

And in a statement similar to that of current GW Vice President of Communications Michael Freedman, the article urged students not to “get panicky – stay calm and collected.”

-Drew Wiseman

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