The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land. Ralph Waldo Emerson

07 December 2010

69 Years Ago Today...

...America changed forever. On a leisurely Sunday morning in Hawaii--December 7, 194--"a date that will live in infamy"--America's nervous peace was ripped apart by the attack of 353 Japanese fighter planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers in the infamous and never-to-be-forgotten bombing of Pearl Harbor.

More than 2400 Americans perished that day--and many of them still call Pearl Harbor their final resting place. Five battleships--the USS California, the USS Utah, the USS West Virginia, the USS Oklahoma, and--most famously--the USS Arizona--were either destroyed or run aground. A total of eighteen naval vessels were destroyed.

The next day, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Less than an hour later, the war authorization was approved. Three days later, the Axis powers of Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S.--and America reciprocated with a war declaration of its own later that same day.

Thus--within the space of just four days--America was plunged into a massive two-front war that ultimately claimed the lives of 416,000 Americans before the war finally ended with Japan's surrender in August 1945.

I have visited the USS Arizona Memorial on two different occasions. It is a place of solemn remembrance and reverent respect. Even today, oil droplets still bubble to the surface of the sea from the fuel tanks on the ship--a quiet, poignant reminder that Pearl Harbor is yet a home of the brave.

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