I can only imagine what Americans thought as they received the news from Hawaii regarding the act of war by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941. It was unthinkable that Pearl Harbor thousands of miles from Japan could be in harm’s way. The historical record reveals mistakes, misinterpretations, and faulty intelligence and proper preparation on many levels. The incredibly misguided decision to have the major portion of our Pacific Fleet harbored in one location was an invitation for disaster, as hindsight reveals. But, on that morning shortly before 8 AM on December 7, 1941, virtually no one in Hawaii or in the United States could have imagined such an occurrence.
The two nations, Japan and the United States had been at odds for decades especially with regard to Japan’s belligerent attitude toward China and that region. Japan was an aggressive nation seeking to expand its economic and political position by seizing territory and commandeering the goods of other nations. The United States believed, wrongly that aggressive economic sanctions against Japan would force them to curtail their expansionism. Japan was a nation ruled by an Emperor who believed he was a god and whatever he decided was both right and to be pursued at all costs. The United States had attempted to take somewhat of an isolationist stance in the War that was raging in Europe even in the face of Germany attacks on merchant’s vessels. We were wrong and failed to realize that tyrannical despotism is rarely ever stopped at the negotiating table for the only thing they recognize is strength and a willingness to exert military might against them.
Our intelligence sources thought that since Japan was 4,000 miles from Hawaii any attack by the Japanese would be on European holdings in the South Pacific such as Singapore or Indochina. Thus, we left Pearl Harbor totally exposed harboring most of our Pacific Fleet in that narrow harbor and lined up hundreds of our planes on adjacent airfields. We made Pearl Harbor an irresistible target and the Japanese did not hesitate. Their objective was to destroy America’s Pacific Fleet and render America incapable of mustering any resistance in the Pacific which would allow Japan to move across the South Pacific unchecked. They were wrong! They failed to take into account the resolve that made America the nation our Founding Father’s established and envisioned. We maintained that resolve for decades but in the past, few we have seen a diminishing of the resolve, resoluteness, and commitment required to maintain our perch on the top of the world stage. The past 8 years has been a concerted assault on what America was, is, and should be. The attack on Pearl Harbor awakened the Sleeping Giant, the American People, and the American Spirit.
When President Roosevelt addressed Congress and the world on December 8, 1941, He said, “Yesterday, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked. 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. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but we will make certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” That was the Spirit of America expressed by our leadership but totally absent in the current administration. Hopefully, the incoming administration will once again embody that Spirit and Resolve.
I was not alive on December 7, 1941, but I was very much alive on September 11, 2001, when terrorists, without provocation, attacked America by flying planes into the Twin Towers in New York, attempting to do so at the Pentagon, and another plane apparently designed to fly into the White House. I know what I felt and the resolve that welled up inside my being. I watched as Americans demonstrated the Spirit of America as they have in times past such as December 7, 1941. We were forced into War in 1941 and determined to not only defend ourselves but completely and utterly defeat our attackers. WE NEED THAT SPIRIT AGAIN! No, I am not suggesting that we become Blood Thirsty, War Mongers but we need to say to the bullies of the world, NO MORE! We need to say to the Islamic jihadist, NO MORE! We need to say to the Despots and Tyrants in other nations and any would-be dictators within our nation, NO MORE! We need to once again, Remember Pearl Harbor and remember 9/11. We need to remember the Spirit that resulted in this nation being birthed and follow, the counsel of President Theodore Roosevelt by walking soft but carrying a very big stick. We need not carry that stick for show but with the willingness to use it if necessary.
America, we need to REMEMBER! Today should rekindle the flame of Patriotism and Commitment to Independence, Liberty, and Freedom. America was founded as a Free Constitutional Republic, has survived as a Free Constitutional Republic, and will continue only so long as we keep that Spirit alive!
God, bless you and God bless America. I encourage you to take the time to reflect on Pearl Harbor and honor the memories of the lives lost and the sacrifices made by the millions of service personnel and civilians in the subsequent years to KEEP AMERICA FREE! Today we remember the Day that Will Live in Infamy and it Does in my heart!
I HONOR THE MEMORY OF OUR VALIANT FIGHTING FORCES and THE AMERICAN RESOLVE TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!