07 December 2011

December 7, 1941

70 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked. Even though it would be recorded tomorrow due to the International Date Line, the Philippines were attacked. My great-grandfather was in the Philippines (prepping for his retirement from Army service after 29 years) when the attack happened. He would later go into captivity for 4 long years as a POW of the Japanese.

Seventy years later, there are those of us that still remember, that still honor the sacrifices of those who would bare the brunt of a dastardly, cowardly attack. War is ugly, there is no pretty face to it no matter what the UN might want as "rules of war", but the least one nation can do is to say "we're going to war" with their enemy. We were not given that warning, but I dare say we rose to the attack, shook off our shock, honored our dead and then went on to defend the Western world.

In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 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 United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

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. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. 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.

I believe that 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 will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

Fewer and fewer of those men and women who defended their nation, their ideals, their civilization, remain with us each passing day. Take today to remember them. Take today to thank a WWII vet, a Korea, Vietnam, Dessert Storm/Shield, War on Terror vet. Take a moment to give thanks to the divine (the cosmos, whatever you believe in) that those men & women were there & heeded the call to do what had to be done. Thank their families for what they endured, thank their fellow vets for what they do. Remember America, those who serve you quietly every day and ask little to nothing in return.

Family lore is that when the US Army folks came to tell my great-grandmother that her husband was captured, presumed dead her reply was that they were welcome to visit the house again, WHEN her husband returned as she KNEW he would. She would have to wait 4 very long, I'm sure terribly draining & tense, years but I doubt heaven itself would have bet against her. He DID return to his wife, his children, and then get to see several of his grandchildren born. This after having been lost behind enemy lines in WWI as a messenger, for a week! The Army really should have known he'd come back but my great-grandmother had faith in her husband! I have that kind of faith in my husband. I have that faith in the men & women who serve this great nation, 70 years on from a terrible day. Have faith, America! We shall always triumph as long as we believe in our values, our morals, our people.
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