Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy - December 7, 1941

From Today In History:
At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, "Yesterday, December 7, 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." After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.
Dec. 7, 1941 - 67 years ago - 2,403 Americans, most of them service personnel, were killed in this attack. Much of the American fleet and air forces stationed in Hawaii were destroyed.

The next morning, an outraged United States declared war. That war ended less than four years later, and destroyed most of the Japanese empire and its military, and also brought on the advent of nuclear weaponry.

As a result of war being declared, my father joined the army and was subsequently stationed in the Fiji Islands. My mom was a war-bride. He was one of the fortunate guys who came home to raise a family and serve his community. My dad passed away in 1997, and I am proud to say he served his country honorably and bravely.

Let's take a moment today to remember those who fought for freedom and triumphed over the tyranny of their time.