Today is a day of recollection and remembrance, as it marks the 69th anniversary of the historic “Date of Infamy.” December 7, 1941, marked the beginning of the United States’ involvement in World War II. Early that Sunday morning, over 300 Japanese aircraft bombed and torpedoed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.
Although the attack failed to cripple the United States’ military strength as was planned, over 2,000 Americans lost their lives. Many of the Pacific Fleet’s ships were sunk or damaged. One of the most tragic losses was the USS Arizone, which is pictured here exploding after its forward magazine (ammunition storage) was hit by an aerial bomb.
After the surprise attack, the United States quickly recovered and began building its military strength in order to counterattack the Japanese aggression. The will of the American people was clearly outlined in President Roosevelt’s famous speech the following day:
“Now [war] has come and we must meet it as united Americans regardless of our attitude in the past toward the policy our Government has followed. … Our country has been attacked by force of arms, and by force of arms we must retaliate. We must now turn every effort to building the greatest and most efficient Army, Navy and Air Force in the world.”
The National Guard and the rest of the United States military still hold true to FDR’s call to glory. As soldiers continue to fight around the world, it is imperative that each of us remembers their courage as they fight to defend our freedom.