National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor are one of the most significant observances that occur in our nation. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Japan’s Sunday morning, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island. In December 2016, our nation once again finds itself divided on several social and political fronts which threaten our unity, common joy and peace. In 1941, having been ravaged by years of rampant unemployment and widespread homelessness brought on the Great Depression; our nation stood at the brink of hopelessness and despair. In his March 4, 1933 Inaugural Address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to acknowledge the bounty of blessings still available to our country and recommit the nation’s strength proclaiming, “This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. (In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.)"
Although President Roosevelt spoke mostly in regards to the Great Depression, his words foretold the same sentiment of strength and courage our nation would use to mobilize itself in the global conflict of World War II. The attack and its commemoration are not only an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s past; but its remembrance also allows us to recognize the possibilities of our current lives and chart our nation’s course toward a peaceful future. In the 71 years after World War II, the United States maintains an extremely harmonious relationship with Japan. And though terrorism exists, we, as a nation, have committed ourselves to stand together against the malice, loss, shock and devastation it brings. In his speech to Congress, President Roosevelt proclaimed Sunday, December 7, 1941, as a date that "will live in infamy” noting that “very many American lives have been lost in the attack". Yet President Roosevelt also recognized the “unbounded determination of our people” to go on despite the collective trauma of a cowardly attack that occurred on a Sunday morning while so many slept.
As we commemorate the 75th Attack on Pearl Harbor, it is crucial to recall those things which unite us as Americans. Whether white, black, yellow or brown; immigrant or native, rich or poor, male or female, Americans have learned that setbacks are merely the challenges and obstacles that inspire us to achieve eventual success and victory. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S.’ eventual victory in the Pacific mirror many of the struggles our country has overcome to become (and continues to be) the great nation that it is.
Take time December 7th, and throughout the year, to observe the sacrifices made at Pearl Harbor; honoring those who fought and lost their lives, as well as our soldiers who currently sacrifice for us today. Fly your Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary flag and flags from each branch of the military and POW flags with pride in the knowledge that, as Americans, we are all a part of a tradition and people who triumph. Commemorate those no longer with us by placing bronze, aluminum and plastic markers and seals on the graves of military heroes in your community. Carrot-Top honors those who served at Pearl Harbor, other World War II veterans, and military servicemen and women from every U.S. conflict and war. Visit the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor or the Veteran Affairs Administration in your area for more events and historical sites.
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