Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

My father served in the military and was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He signed up at the young age of twenty. He was excited about duty in Hawaii. He had grown up on a ranch / farm and spent a few summers herding sheep, baling hay, and mending fences. He grew up during the Great Depression, but didn’t realize the impact of it as his family raised just about everything they ate, from beef to corn.

He was about to have breakfast, pancakes as a matter of fact, when he heard the first explosions and the engines of the Japanese airplanes. He and a couple of his buddies “went outside to see what the hell was going on.”

They saw the planes silhouetted against the sky, but couldn’t make out the markings at first. One of his buddies said “Must be maneuvers.” And then they saw a few planes heading in their general direction and recognized them as Japanese Zeros.

He wouldn’t say much more about the rest of that day other than he was scared to death and they kept waiting for a land invasion that never occurred.

He served and fought for the entire duration in the Pacific Theater. He lost many friends saw many of them wounded horribly. He survived the war and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and heroics, he was also awarded the Purple Heart for absorbing shrapnel in his back during that action. The shrapnel wounds caused him pain and suffering until the day he died at the age of 85.

As Billy Ray Cyrus wrote in a song about soldiers;

“All gave some, some gave all.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking congress to declare war
on the Japanese Empire

To the Congress of the United States:
Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the un-bounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.