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Completely Unexpected

December 7, 2015

The Secretary of Labor had been busy writing an important report when she received a call from the White House informing her of a cabinet meeting to be held that evening. She would have to fly from New York to D.C. in order to attend. She asked the White House switchboard operator what was the matter: “Why the cabinet meeting tonight?” The operator replied, “Just the war, what’s in the paper,” and hung up. There had been war in Europe since 1939 and in the Far East since 1937. What war could the operator have meant?

No one at the Labor Secretary’s club had heard anything. She asked the taxi driver who took her to the airport if he had any news. He replied, “They said on the radio there was a shooting somewhere.” At the airport she met the Vice President and another member of the cabinet. They did not know much about the situation.

They quietly discussed the reason for their summons. At the last two cabinet meetings there had been much concern regarding the size and destination of the Japanese fleet. The Navy thought the Japanese might be headed to Singapore. The Army was worried about the Philippines. The President had speculated: “They might be going north. That’s always a possibility. To cut the Russian supply lines now would hurt the European war. Perhaps they’ll entrench themselves further in the northern waters.”

The military was concerned about the Far East. The President was worried the Japanese might appear in the Bering Strait. Tonight, when the cabinet assembled, he would inform them the Japanese had done something completely unexpected.

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