“December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. … Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. … With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.” ~ Franklin D. RooseveltSome memories should never fade...and the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack that thrust us into WWII is certainly one of them.
Townhall: To those who lived through that time, and still remember the Americans who didn't, that day and that war still lives. Seared into memory. Not enough of us today will think of those Americans who gave their lives in the jungles of the Pacific or in the skies above Europe, who fought in North Africa or on the beaches of Sicily and Normandy or wherever they were sent to defend not only their country but the cause of freedom around the world. Cut down before their time, they never grew old. Still young in their fresh soldier boy's uniforms or coats of Navy blue, their pictures still stand somewhere almost lost among all the others atop crowded mantles and chifferobes across the country, their gazes fixed on us from the past. If we would only look. And learn.On that fateful “Day of Infamy,” 72 years ago today, 353 Japanese planes attacked an U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing 2,390 American servicemen and civilians, as well as wounding 1,282. Within the attack, eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers and one minelayer were either sank or obliterated, along with 188 aircraft destroyed. Over the next four years, the military might of America joined the Allies to wage war against the Axis of Japan, Germany and Italy, inevitably defeating their tyranny.
The country would experience another Day That Will Live in Infamy on September 11, 2001, and once again resolve to see the struggle through to the inevitable victory, so help us God. Yet the memory of that day, too, like the country's resolve, already fades. Appeasement comes back into fashion if by more polite names. Once again Western statesmen draft diplomatic deals and issue press releases proclaiming peace in our time. Once again, defense budgets are cut as America withdraws from the world stage. With the usual results: Aggression goes unchecked, a bloody civil war rages in Syria as it once did in Spain, fanaticism prospers, and the next Day of Infamy is invited while America sleeps.
Today the memories indelibly etched in a young paperboy's mind on December 7th, 1941, and now part of his family's heritage, come back strong, if only for a passing day. Those memories need to be kept alive, powerful and vivid, from generation to generation, and their lesson remembered.
There are many...in this still great country [who remember], this sleeping giant more than one vainglorious aggressor has made the mistake of awakening, and their stories need to be told and preserved, too. Which is another reason why the veterans of that terrible war, the diminishing number of them we still have with us, should record their memories for posterity. Because they're all part of your heritage, America.
It is in such remembrance that with honor and respect for all those lost, injured or suffered on that Sunday morning in 1941 that we should never again fall into a complacence that would allow such a tragedy as either Pearl Harbor or the Sept. 11, 2001 attack ever again.
Related links: Overview of The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
The day that shall live in infamy
Today, we honor the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor