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Archive for the ‘Pearl Harbor’ Category

pearlharborblog1Today is the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

One could argue that every generation has its defining moment. But there are a few events that so fundamentally change the world, in ways so profound, that they echo in our consciousness and our hearts…even seven decades later.

The attack on December 7, 1941 is one of them.

Though not ignorant of what was happening in the world at the time, Americans at the time felt secure, convinced to a large degree that the country was untouchable.

We weren’t.

The vast majority of us were not born when the nation was attacked in such a shocking manner. For many Americans, even their parents weren’t born. It can be easy, as the years go on and our World War II veterans pass on, to let the day pass unnoticed. There may be some who wonder why it is brought up at all.
But though we may not have witnessed the events of that day nor experienced directly the three years of global war and unfathomable loss of life that would follow, make no mistake. We have all been shaped by it.

As the Scottish philosopher and historian, Thomas Carlyle wrote “The Present is the living sum-total of the whole Past.”

pearlharboremembrancedaySo, we acknowledge the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor because we must remember that the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance. That cost was born by our WWII veterans then, and by millions more before and after. We can see the cost under the waves in Hawaii, in rows at Arlington, at our VA hospitals, and in the eyes of our loved ones who have seen war. Here at Operation Homefront, we see it mirrored in the experiences of the families we serve. The events of September 11th were their Pearl Harbor, and like the generations that went to war before them, these military and veteran families have paid a high cost. Our mission was born from the knowledge of the cost that would be paid because we remembered the lessons of history.

We acknowledge the anniversary because we must remember that our country is strong, and though we may be brought to our knees or reel from a blow, we get back up. We are reminded of one of America’s most dear ideals: that no matter what your circumstances of birth, or what destiny has in store, there always remains the opportunity to overcome them and forge your own path.

We acknowledge the anniversary because we must remember, every day, to endeavor to deserve the gift given to us by our military veterans. Our country may not be perfect, but we should never stop trying to be better. Never stop trying to earn the sacrifice made on that day and in days that followed.

Please join us today in sharing a message of honor or remembrance. You can post here in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. We’d also like to share some online resources where you can learn more about Pearl Harbor and the 75th commemoration.

pearlharborblog2The official website commemorating National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the 75th Anniversary.

National WWII Museum and their dedicated page for the 75th anniversary.

Smithsonian Learning Lab Pearl Harbor page.

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by Allison Perkins

My son’s due date haunted me.

This was my first baby. A little boy. He was our joy. Then, we learned his due date.
The doctor excitedly told me it was Dec. 7.

I winced.

“That’s a heck of a birthday,” I said. The doctor was unfazed.

December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day,” I said.

“Oh yes, yes that,” he said. Without emotion. Without hesitation. Almost without recognition.

Roosevelt declared it to be a day which would live in infamy.

Just before 8 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941, 181 Japanese bombers and fighters launched an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, home to the U.S. Pacific fleet. A second wave of firepower came nearly 30 minutes later.

When the smoke cleared, 2, 403 people were dead, 21 U.S. ships were sunk or damaged, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed and another 159 were damaged.

As the doctor calculated my son’s possible birthday, then 61 years after the attacks, my heart dropped. How could we celebrate such a joyous occasion on such a horrific day?

Nine years later, our youngest daughter was born. When the doctor scheduled my induction, he announced that I should report to the hospital on Sept. 11.

Again, my heart sank. Again, there was no emotion, no hesitation in his voice. It was just another day.

But it wasn’t.

Another early morning attack. More Americans, 2,819 in all, dead.

It was a day, we all promised, we would never forget.

This week, America marks the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. This unforgettable moment in time, seems somehow, forgotten.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association is now so few in numbers that the group will officially disband on Dec. 31. It is rare to find an elementary school or American town that pauses to mark the day when the U.S. officially entered the war in the Pacific.

The number of survivors who are able to visit community centers and retell their incredible stories of attack and survival has dwindled to a handful.

As they disappear, so it seems, does America’s willingness to fulfill our promise to never let their memory fade.

Please take a moment to pause this week to remember America’s veterans, of Pearl Harbor and fights throughout the years. Be thankful for their sacrifices. Be grateful for their service.

In the end, neither of our children’s birthdays landed on Dec. 7 or Sept. 11, despite the doctors’ predictions. But I don’t need a family milestone to remind me to pause and thank those who lost their lives those days.

I will never forget. Will you?

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