Pearl Harbor’s 75th Anniversary: Reawakening America

December 7, 2016 Updated: December 7, 2016    

On Dec. 7, America reverently pauses to commemorate National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and the 75th anniversary of the attack.

Pearl Harbor must eternally remind America, and the world, of our resilience, resolve, and patriotism.

During this milestone commemoration, America must reflect, and rededicate ourselves without reserve. Our sacrosanct principles of freedom, liberty, and democracy must guide our moral compass.

We must reawaken the enduring character of America, expressed through the sacrifice, courage, and determination of our nation.

America must forever remember the sacrifices of the fallen.

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

The 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor must also inspire a renewed admiration of our “greatest generation.”

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) proclaimed, the “date which will live in infamy” must be seared into the soul of every person privileged to call America home.

The event that thrust America into World War II, and defined our unwavering defense of moral decency, will indeed “live in infamy.”

The fires of our patriotism must perpetually burn our hearts and light the path to the world for peace.

Inspiring World Peace

Understanding our past and the consequences of events enables insight, understanding, and wisdom. 

These are characteristics that are critical to preventing future turmoil, conflicts, and wars.

America, and every nation of the world, must reflect on Pearl Harbor and the catastrophic events of World War II.  We must learn from the past and have a full force commitment to working with one another to inspire peaceful solutions to our differences.

Our nation must continually be dedicated to the 71 years of peaceful coexistence between Japan and America.

Both nations must inspire hope for a bright future for nations currently engaged in division, conflict, and turmoil.

‘Remember Pearl Harbor’

Although Dec. 7, 1941 began as a typical Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, events would quickly unfold to make it a defining day in American history.

The fast facts surrounding the attack on the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet Headquarters on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu include these from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans:

  • Shortly before 8 a.m., Japan launched approximately 200 planes from six aircraft carriers. This ignited their first planned phase of Operation Hawaii, forever immortalized as “the attack on Pearl Harbor” or “Pearl Harbor.”
  • This was a surprise, unprovoked attack that stunned America, which was focused on events in Europe and Hitler’s morally despicable war of conquest.
  • The U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor suffered severe devastation including damage or destruction to 18 ships. These included the battleships Arizona, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, and West Virginia.
  • More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel were killed.
  • The attack, contrary to the devastation inflicted, unified America. Until then, the nation was divided by pro-war “Hawks” and anti-war “Isolationists.”
  • On Dec. 8, the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, FDR addressed Congress. The president demanded a declaration of war with his immortalized “Day of Infamy” speech.  FDR received resounding, unified support with a vote of 82-0 in the Senate and 388-1 in the House.

America was united and dedicated to a complete and unconditional victory.  The collaborative rallying cries throughout WWII was “We’re All in this Together” and “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

Final Reflections

At the end of my presentations, I take time to honor all American military personnel who have offered the ultimate sacrifice.

This tribute includes the story of an American soldier killed in Iraq whose internment ceremony I attended at Arlington National Cemetery.

But any patriotism I have inspired, pales in significance to the honor expressed through the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA).

The PHSA, officially recognized by the United States Congress, is dedicated to ensure all generations of Americans remain cognizant of Pearl Harbor.

As detailed on their website, may the words of Houston F. James, a Pearl Harbor survivor, reignite the fire of America’s character:

“Destiny ordained that you be permitted a journey to the jaws of hell.

“Destiny allowed you to observe the horrors of war.

“Destiny has granted you the privilege of a continued journey through life.

“Destiny will ask you to remember each time you hear the word survivor, you’ll remember and be thankful.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.