Day of in­famy marks its 77th an­niver­sary

From ashes of hor­rific day arose a na­tion of he­roes

Yuma Sun - - OPINION -

One of the most jar­ring days in Amer­i­can his­tory was Dec. 7, 1941, the day the Ja­panese launched a dev­as­tat­ing at­tack on Pearl Har­bor.

And while the day was a dark one in our his­tory, it was also a day where he­roes rose to meet the call of a na­tion in need.

The at­tack lasted just over two hours. In that short win­dow of time, 2,400 Amer­i­cans were killed and an­other 1,000 were in­jured. Eigh­teen Amer­i­can ships were de­stroyed or sunk, and an­other 300 air­craft dam­aged or de­stroyed.

That bru­tal day drove our na­tion to­gether, in grief and in shock, a tribe united in the face of war.

Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt noted the changes in his State of the Union ad­dress just a few weeks later in 1942:

“The act of Ja­pan at Pearl Har­bor was in­tended to stun us — to ter­rify us to such an ex­tent that we would di­vert our in­dus­trial and mil­i­tary strength to the Pa­cific area, or even to our own con­ti­nen­tal de­fense.

“The plan has failed in its pur­pose. We have not been stunned. We have not been ter­ri­fied or con­fused. This very re­assem­bling of the 77th Congress to­day is proof of that; for the mood of quiet, grim res­o­lu­tion which here pre­vails bodes ill for those who con­spired and col­lab­o­rated to mur­der world peace.

“That mood is stronger than any mere de­sire for re­venge. It ex­presses the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple to make very cer­tain that the world will never so suf­fer again.

By Roo­sevelt’s State of the Union ad­dress a year later, in 1943, there were ap­prox­i­mately 1.5 mil­lion Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers around the world, and the U.S. armed forces had grown from a lit­tle over 2,000,000 to 7,000,000.

Amer­i­cans banded to­gether, ris­ing to­ward the coun­try’s call to ser­vice, from fac­to­ries to farm­ers to fam­i­lies who sac­ri­ficed much for the war ef­fort.

Pearl Har­bor was hor­rific, but it launched a coun­try of he­roes into ac­tion. To­day, we re­mem­ber their ser­vice, and honor their sac­ri­fice. Un­signed edi­to­ri­als rep­re­sent the view­point of this news­pa­per rather than an in­di­vid­ual. Columns and let­ters to the ed­i­tor rep­re­sent the view­points of the per­sons writ­ing them and do not nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent the views of the Yuma Sun.

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