The words of Franklin D. Roosevelt with forever ring from the shocking silence on that day.
“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…The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost…But always will our whole nation 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 unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”
75 years ago today, slightly before 0800, hundreds of fighter planes from the Empire of Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. Nearly 20 naval vessels and over 300 war planes were destroyed.
75 years ago today, in an attack that lasted less than two hours, over 2,000 American lives were lost. 2,008 were Sailors. 109 were Marines. 228 were Soldiers. 57 were civilians.
75 years ago today, at 0810, a 1,800 pound bomb smashed through the USS Arizona and landed in her forward ammunition magazine. The ship exploded and sank. Nearly 1,000 crewmen were still trapped inside. Torpedoes sliced into the USS Oklahoma causing the vessel to roll over, and nearly 400 men to go missing.
75 years ago today, every battleship on Pearl – USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS West Virginia, USS Maryland, USS California, USS Nevada, USS Tennessee, and USS Pennsylvania all sustained damage. But the Pacific Fleet refused to stay cripple.
75 years ago today, the Empire of Japan attacked the American spirit and awoke a sleeping giant. The attacks, seeking to dismantle the nation that had not yet officially joined the war, and have economic sanctions lifted, instead united the American people and the resolve of the Greatest Generation continued on.
The greatest mobilization of United States troops marched forward, both to avenge Pearl and defend the nation they so dearly loved. A brotherhood was created among these heroes. The kind of brotherhood thicker than blood, stronger than steel, and unable for anyone or anything to ever penetrate.
America was hurt but America moved forward. The nation was tried and the nation overcame.
To say uncommon valor become a common virtue at Pearl Harbor would be an understatement. Due to the attacks on Pearl, these medal were awarded, many of them presented posthumously:
- 15 Medals of Honor
- 5 Distinguished Service Crosses
- 51 Navy Crosses
- 1 Army Distinguished Service Medal
- 69 Silver Stars
- 3 Navy and Marine Corps Medals
- 5 Legion of Merits
- 33 Distinguished Flying Crosses
- 6 Medals of Merit
75 years ago today, a beautiful Hawaiian day became a day known for pain and destruction.
75 years ago today, a horrid Hawaiian day also became known as a day of valor.
75 years later, the words of President Roosevelt continually echo truth. December 7 still lives in infamy.
To the Greatest Generation that fought such tyranny, to my own grandfather who fought at Okinawa on the USS Noble, thank you will never be enough. You are courage, you are commitment, you are integrity, you are tenacity, you are honor. These special warriors will never be forgotten.
You fought for me. I will honor you.