Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor

Today is the remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.  I visited the base and the National Park in 2006 while on leave in Hawaii.  My brother Steve, my niece Sarah, and I went to the park, and took the standard tour.  Since Steve was stationed there for about a year before my visit, he showed us some other areas, besides the USS Arizona Memorial.  It was a great experience, definitely one I will never forget.  If you ever visit Hawaii, a trip to this National Park and Memorial is a must see. 

USS Arizona Memorial

Taking the boat to the memorial, seeing the fuel still coming up from the massive grave below just gives you goosebumps.  There are over 1,000 Sailors and Marines whose remains still lie on the USS Arizona, considered to be "buried at sea." I always think of this recruiting posters, one of the many that are on display in the halls of the Navy's only bootcamp, RTC Great Lakes when I think of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Navy Recruiting Poster

Part of President Roosevelt's "Infamy" Speech

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and 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, that 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. "

This speech, the photos from the day, the memory of the thousands that died...never forget.  History is here to teach us and help us learn from our past..to not make similar mistakes..to grow as people. 

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