07 December 2006


On a typical Sunday morning in early December, as sailors were going about their daily duties of shining their shoes, inventorying the ammunition, and preparing breakfast, an unfamiliar buzz was heard from the north. Men looked up and realized this would not turn out to be another ordinary day. This was a day, as their Commander-in-Chief would tell the nation later that day, that would "live in infamy." It was, until a certain Tuesday morning five years ago, the most dispicable act carried out by a foreign enemy on American soil. (Following from History Place)

At 7:53 a.m., the first Japanese assault wave, with 51 'Val' dive bombers, 40 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 50 high level bombers and 43 'Zero' fighters, commences the attack with flight commander, Mitsuo Fuchida, sounding the battle cry: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!).

The Americans are taken completely by surprise. The first attack wave targets airfields and battleships. The second wave targets other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasts until 9:45 a.m. Eight battleships are damaged, with five sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost along with 188 aircraft. The Japanese lose 27 planes and five midget submarines which attempted to penetrate the inner harbor and launch torpedoes.

The casualty list includes 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed, with 1,178 wounded. Included are 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona killed after a 1,760-pound air bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing catastrophic explosions.
Two hours that probably seemed more like two days to the young men who were all of a sudden dragged into the largest-scale war in the history of planet Earth. Much like our enemy thought five years ago, the Japanese thought that we would just curl up into a ball and cry ourselves to sleep. They thought perhaps that we would lack the fortitude to fight back.

Oh, how wrong they were. This nation was full of men and women who had lost jobs because of the Great Depression, and families who had lost farms in the Dust Bowl. Yet through it all, these brave men and women pulled up their bootstrap, squared their jaw, looked these miseries in the eye, and overcame when by all rights they should have been crushed. We did not fall when things bigger than even the Japanese Empire attacked us. To think we would give up now was absolutely ludicrous!

This was a nation built by men like my father, a "stubborn old Dutchman" (If he were around today, he'd tell you that's what he was). It was built by men and women who didn't know they were supposed to crumble when things got tough. It was built by men and women who, when they saw gloom and despair, didn't say, "Oh no!! I'm being inconvenienced!!" They said, "OK, what do we need to do?"

The men and women who were attacked that quiet Sunday morning were a sleeping giant that had been awoken. The Japanese had no idea what they had done. They had unkowingly assured themselves of an unprecedented destruction. A bunch of foreigners decided to send a message, and we sent them one in return...postage due, of course. The message we sent them wasn't the olive branch that Black Jack Pershing sent them. This time, we were sending them a black rose. We sent it via the Marshall Islands and Midway. We sent it via Iwo Jima, and Guadalcanal. The last deliveries were to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

How sorry was the Emporer when he saw the devestation caused by their decision to wake us up on a quiet Sunday morning? What must he have thought when he saw what happens when you attack a nation full of people who have spent generations banding together to overcome situations that seem impossible? And how thankful can we ever be to a nation of men and women--our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers--who didn't look at how they would be inconvenienced by taking up arms to defeat a common enemy? They saw their beloved homeland under attack, looked the enemy in the eye, placed their feet on its throat, and crushed the life out of it. And by doing so, brought hope and respect to this great land.

May we never forget. May we never underestimate what they accomplished. May we never allow our children's history books to leave out what another country tried to accomplish by stepping their boots on our turf. May we never allow a generation to be ignorant of what the bravest men and women this world has ever seen were able to accomplish in such a short time, and against such formidable odds. May we never forget. May we always remember Pearl Harbor.

Thank you, HotAir