STRAIGHT TALK: Revisit the past, but face the future
On Tuesday, Americans reflected on the events of 74 years ago and a morning which saw the blue skies over Pearl Harbor begin to fill with the acrid black smoke of the burning wreckage of our fleet and aircraft that were attacked just shortly after 8 a.m. Honolulu time.
That morning would find 2,400 sailors, soldiers, marines, airmen and civilians killed and another 1,200 wounded. This was the worst attack ever suffered on American soil and propelled the nation into World War II, as we would join forces with our Allies against the Axis forces.
President Roosevelt would describe the attack as “a day that will live in infamy,” as he would address a Joint Session of Congress and the American people. The attack on our soil would galvanize a resolve within the American people to make whatever sacrifice is required to defend our nation and respond to the evil that had been spreading in both Europe and the Asian continent since 1938.
Young men would falsify their ages to join in the fight against an enemy and brothers would race to induction stations to see who could be first to defend their country.
Women would also join in the effort, both as members of the military, such as two of my dad’s sisters, one of which rose to the rank of sergeant major. They would also assume jobs on the production lines to produce the necessary products and equipment to keep our military moving forward as the war effort would grind on from 1941-1945.
America came together to make the necessary sacrifices and go the distance to eliminate this threat to democracy, while soundly vanquishing totalitarianism. Those we defeated became the recipients of our guidance and humanity, and today serve as some of our closest allies, 74 years after our entry into the conflict.
As we reflect on our past, we cannot help but compare the struggles faced by those patriots 74 years ago to the challenges we face today. Sept. 11 is often referred to as the Pearl Harbor of our generation, as we once again find young men and women deployed throughout the world fighting an enemy that seeks to destroy our culture and the freedoms that were successfully defended nearly three quarters of a century ago.
That evil has crept out from the deepest and darkest corners of an area of the world that was once revered as the “cradle of civilization.” They seek to eliminate the Judeo-Christian foundations our nation is founded upon. They deal in fear and seek to subjugate the world population under a rule that is barbaric, murderous and inhuman.
While we as a nation and a society hold life in the most highest of regard, they seek to destroy it to make a point. They flaunt the barbarity of their actions on the internet for all to see in an attempt to drive fear into our hearts and have us cower in the corner while living in trepidation of their next acts of inhumanity.
Those that would seek to do us harm will soon learn the hard lessons visited upon those evil forces from the past. America does not fear its enemies and it does not seek bring harm to others and their beliefs, religions and cultures. We are a nation of compassion and caring people and we embrace diversity and a wide-ranging mix of religions and values – but we will not stand by while this evil seeks to enslave, slaughter or attempt to subjugate others.
Admiral Yamamoto’s infamous quote, “I fear we may have only awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve,” will hopefully ring true in the ears of another generation of tyrants and cowards that have underestimated this nation and its people.