(Above is a picture of a seaman being rescued after the attack. The mast of the USS Tennessee is just beyond the burning USS West Virginia. Two men can be seen on the upper, center superstructure. The photo is from the U.S. National Archives.)
Remember Pearl Harbor: Eighty years later, freedom is still at stake.
Today marks the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a day President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) described as a “date that will live in infamy.”
Similar to how many of us awakened on the morning of September 11, 2001, to the shocking and terrifying news of the attacks on U.S. soil, those alive in 1941 awoke to news of an early Sunday morning air raid by Japan on the U.S. naval base in Honolulu, Hawaii.
World War II had begun two years earlier as a result of Adolf Hitler’s desire to invade and occupy Poland in 1939. Hitler wanted to invade earlier than he did, but he knew he first had to neutralize the possibility of the Soviet Union getting involved.
After a series of secret negotiations with the U.S.S.R. guaranteeing the Soviets would stay out of the way, Hitler ordered attacks to begin on September 1, 1939. Just two days later, keeping good on their promise to help Poland should Germany attack, both Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, beginning a war that would be fought until 1945.
The United States had hoped to remain neutral during World War II. America was only 20 years removed from the mass casualties of World War I and thus had no interest in enduring such loss again.
Additionally, many saw WWII as a European problem and didn’t see the significance of American involvement. From an economic standpoint, not fighting was seen as productive because the U.S. was bolstering its own economy by manufacturing military goods for the Allied forces.
Furthermore, the U.S. military was not nearly as powerful as it is today. It was only about 100,000 men strong, and much of its weaponry was outdated. Without a military draft, which ultimately did come, many feared the U.S. would be defeated if they were drawn into the fight.
President Roosevelt was in favor of being involved and supporting the Allied powers, but he simply didn’t have the support. In fact, an emergency cabinet meeting was called by Roosevelt immediately after the war erupted in Europe. During the meeting, it was agreed that the United States would remain an outside influence unless directly threatened or attacked.
Waking The Sleeping Giant
Those hopes of remaining neutral were dashed on the morning of December 7, 1941.
By 7:55 that Sunday morning, the first wave in the surprise attack by the Japanese had begun. The second wave followed roughly 45 minutes later.
The Japanese had planned and practiced for this day for nearly a year, and they had one objective: destroy America’s Pacific Fleet, rendering them unable to fight back as Japan’s armed forces spread across the South Pacific.
The battle lasted less than two hours, but the loss was enormous.
Twenty American ships, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed. The same fate befell over 300 aircraft, and numerous dry docks and airfields were destroyed as well.
Worse still was the loss of life. Over 2,400 sailors, soldiers, and civilians were killed, and over 1,000 were wounded.
This great country was caught off guard that day, and to a degree, was temporarily crippled. The crippling, however, would be short-lived.
It’s been said that Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind behind Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack, later wrote in his diary, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Historians can’t seem to come to a consensus as to whether or not Yamamoto actually penned those words. Regardless, the sentiment was spot on. A nation that just hours before had no stomach for war was now united in its determination to enter the battle.
The next day at noon, President Roosevelt requested a declaration of war from the U.S. House. The thunderous applause and stamping of feet he received at the end of his speech signaled the mood, and within one hour, FDR got what he’d requested, with only one dissenting vote. At 4:10 p.m., FDR signed the declaration, and thus the U.S. entered WWII.
The U.S. quickly recovered from the December 7 attack. Within a few months, many of the heavily damaged ships were salvaged and rejoined the active fleet. In less than a year, all but three of the ships had returned to active duty.
By June of 1942, only six months after the attack, the U.S. dealt a decisive blow to Japan’s navy at the Battle of Midway. The U.S. fleet managed to sink four Japanese aircraft carriers, thwarting Japan’s hopes of neutralizing the United States as a naval power. Japan was forced to abandon its plan to expand its reach in the Pacific and effectively remained on the defensive for the rest of WWII.
The war would be fought for three more years, but the Japanese-induced U.S. involvement proved pivotal in the victory for the Allied Powers.
Eighty years ago, our nation was under attack by those who sought to change our way of life. Today we find ourselves in a very similar situation.
Though the attack is not in the form of air raids and bombs and bullets, our way of life is under attack no less. Presently, however, the attacks are from within.
Most of the principles we hold dear have been threatened. Just consider the freedoms that have been so easily relinquished over the past two years.
Churches proved overly compliant in closing their doors for far too long; private businesses were shuttered, many of which will never recover; the right to assemble was restricted (except for Antifa and BLM of course); and any viewpoint that went against the approved pandemic narrative was silenced.
Freedom to make our own health choices is even under attack. In just the past few months, Mr. Biden has mandated from his lofty perch that all federal employees are to be injected with the experimental and non-FDA approved injection, or face termination. Additionally, he has tried to impose his will on private companies by using the strong arm of the government to force vaccination.
If I’m reading the landscape correctly, I see no end in sight as to how far this tyrannical regime will go.
It’s December 7, 2021. Wake up America. We’ve been asleep for far too long, incrementally giving up our rights for the sake of government “help.” In doing so, we’ve fed a hungry beast with an insatiable appetite – only satisfied by gaining more power at our expense.
The events of December 7, 1941, united this nation and instilled a national pride unlike any the world had ever seen.
Rather than the senseless division we are currently experiencing, I pray we see our common enemies and unite once again. May God give us the discernment and wisdom to act courageously for what is right.
Patriots and freedom lovers, may we arise from our slumber and cede no more of our rights, or else we may never get them back.