Seventy Infamous Days

The USS Arizona burns after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

This year, and today specifically, marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  For as long as I have been alive, each December 7th brought me the voice of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaiming this day to be “a date which will live in infamy.”  And so it has.  Even one of my favorite films immortalizes for future generations: Tora! Tora! Tora! (which I consider to be fairly historically accurate).  The more dramatic and entertaining Pearl Harbor released in 2001 gets the blood surging, but does not satisfy me need to ‘real life’ accuracy.  Contrived romantic entanglements pale before the gritty details and courage our soldiers exhibited under fire.

Yesterday, while waiting for my bagel to toast at the lobby coffee shop, I picked up a free copy of the winter edition of ‘Our Daily Bread.’ Even though I follow them on Twitter, I often miss their daily tweets because they occur so early in the morning or get lost in the other Twitter clutter.  Normally, I wouldn’t have bothered beyond reading the entry for yesterday and returning it to the stack for someone else to benefit form its wisdom.  But after the discouraging news I received Monday about my husband’s health, I am seeking support and encouragement at every turn.  Now, I have a daily reminder on my desk to connect me to hope and to encourage me to live in faith with God’s Will.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s article entitled ‘This Do In Remembrance‘:

When a US Navy vessel arrives or departs from the military bases in Pearl Harbor, the crew of that ship lines up in dress uniform. They stand at attention at arm’s length on the outer edges of the deck, in salute to the soldiers, sailors, and civilians who died on December 7, 1941. It is a stirring sight, and participants often list it among the most memorable moments of their military career.

Even for spectators on shore, the salute triggers an incredible emotional connection, but especially between the servants of today and the servants of yesterday. It grants nobility to the work of today’s sailor, while giving dignity to the sacrifice of those from the past.

And I’ll close with an excerpt from President Barrack Obama’s Proclamation for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (2011) issued yesterday:

On a serene Sunday morning 70 years ago, the skies above Pearl Harbor were darkened by the bombs of Japanese forces in a surprise attack that tested the resilience of our Armed Forces and the will of our Nation. As explosions sounded and battleships burned, brave service members fought back fiercely with everything they could find. Unbeknownst to these selfless individuals, the sacrifices endured on that infamous day would galvanize America and come to symbolize the mettle of a generation.

In the wake of the bombing of our harbor and the crippling of our Pacific Fleet, there were those who declared the United States had been reduced to a third-class power. But rather than break the spirit of our Nation, the attack brought Americans together and fortified our resolve. Patriots across our country answered the call to defend our way of life at home and abroad. They crossed oceans and stormed beaches, freeing millions from the grip of tyranny and proving that our military is the greatest force for liberty and security the world has ever known. On the home front, dedicated civilians supported the war effort by repairing wrecked battleships, working in factories, and joining civilian defense organizations to help with salvage programs and plant Victory gardens. At this time of great strife, we reminded the world there is no challenge we cannot meet; there is no challenge we cannot overcome.

On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we honor the more than 3,500 Americans killed or wounded during that deadly attack and pay tribute to the heroes whose courage ensured our Nation would recover from this vicious blow. Their tenacity helped define the Greatest Generation and their valor fortified all who served during World War II. As a Nation, we look to December 7, 1941, to draw strength from the example set by these patriots and to honor all who have sacrificed for our freedoms.

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