Today, December 7 marks the 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is a day long remembered by Americans and widely reported for many years, but this year it is barely remembered on the air or on the news pages. Yet, younger generations might want to reflect on the attack on our nation, by a friendly nation, and the ultimate cost of defense and freedom.
The world has not changed much, I believe.
We just saw a moving and memorable state funeral for President George H.W. Bush. During the days and hours of ceremony many noted that the president’s life of public service began in the United States Navy right after Pearl Harbor. President Bush is believed to have been the youngest pilot in the Navy, serving in the Pacific when he was 18 and 19 years old, and thereafter. His legacy is one of service, courage, and honor.
Dec. 7, 1941 – the attack in Pearl Harbor that is often referred to as a “sneak attack.” In a speech to the Congress of the United States on Dec. 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called it the “day of infamy,” never to be forgotten. At his request, war was declared against Japan by both houses of Congress that day.
History tells us we had been at peace with Japan and in talks with the empire about maintaining peace in the Pacific when the dawn attack shocked the nation, which was just coming out of the Depression. In his famed speech to Congress, President Roosevelt and our former friends also launched attacks on Malaya, Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippines and Wake Island.
In ending the somber speech that catapulted us into World War II, President Roosevelt anticipated the great historical significance of what had happened, not knowing the outcome, and said. . .”but always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.”
I would hope.