“December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy – the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost…Long will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.”
-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy. These are words I have heard uttered throughout my entire life. These words cut like a knife as I remember the onslaught against this great nation. These words represent pain and destruction. These words truly do represent a date which lives in infamy.
While I may not have been alive on December 7, 1941, there is something about the occurrence of the attacks on that Sunday morning which lives within me as alive as the attacks on that Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.
The attacks on the Hawaiian Islands were more than an attack against the American people – they were an attack against the American spirit.
The Empire of Japan sought to dismantle American forces with this surprise attack, while fronting talks of peace in the Pacific with the United States government. The Empire of Japan hit the American people in the heart. The attacks appeared to never stop. For a moment, it was as if the Empire had won. For a moment, it was as if there was no hope. But this lasted for only a moment.
The heart of the American people, the heart of the forces which lived on Pearl Harbor is something that cannot be penetrated. While the Pacific fleet was lost on this dark day, while many innocent lives were taken, and while the pride of America was hurt, the valor which exists in this nation continued on.
World War II required the greatest mobilization of this nation’s troops. Both before and after Pearl Harbor, the greatest generation rose up together while making inconceivable sacrifices along the way. A brotherhood was created among these heroes, even among those still entombed in the USS Arizona.
The attacks on Pearl Harbor, the war, changed America and the world. America was hurt but America channeled that hurt into strength. Our nation was tried and our nation overcame.
December 7, 1941. A date which live in infamy. A date I have heard uttered throughout my entire life. A date which represents pain and destruction. A date that also represents valor. A date that would forever change this nation.
To the greatest generation who fought aggression both in Europe and the Pacific – thank you.
“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 unbending determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”