Published Friday, December 07, 2012
Seventy-one years ago today was one of the darkest days in American history. During the morning on that date -- Dec. 7, 1941 -- the Imperial Japanese Navy make a surprise attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
In that attack 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes launched from six aircraft carriers damaged all eight U.S. Navy battleships at Pearl Harbor, with four of the U.S. ships being sunk. The Japanese attack, which came in two waves, also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. Also destroyed were 188 U.S. aircraft. The human loss was staggering for America -- 2,402 Americans killed and 1,282 wounded.
The day after the attack the United States declared war on Japan. This attack got our nation directly involved in World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. Following the attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”
This shocking attack and the date of the attack has never been forgotten. Each year the anniversary of the date rekindles long ago memories for all of those who are still alive who recall the events of Dec. 7, 1941, and the long war after the attack.
Through the years those who lived during the attack and war have given us the roadmap for what it means to be patriotic Americans. They showed us how to love our country and cherish the freedom we maintained because of the hard-fought victory after Pearl Harbor Day.
All of us -- young and old -- must never forget Dec. 7, 1941. It was indeed a dark day in our nation’s history, but our nation achieved greatness because of the determination of our people not to be defeated.