Today is December 7 – a day that President Roosevelt said would be “a date which will live in infamy.” On that fateful morning of December 7, 1941, America was attacked without warning. More than 2,400 Americans died and 1,100 were wounded. Our country was changed forever. This attack led us into war, and the citizens of America responded with courage and resolve. So it may be well to reflect on what took place and how we today must also rise to the occasion of the attacks on America by Islamic extremists.
Today is known as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It is a day when we honor the lives lost in that attack on Pearl Harbor and also honor the veterans of World War II. But it can also be a day in which we pay tribute to the men and woman who are currently serving in the armed forces in an effort to promote freedom and justice around the world.
If you travel to Hawaii, you need to stop at the memorial in Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona stands as a testimony to the 1,177 crew members who died as a result of the attack on December 7. I understand that more than 40 million people have visited that memorial and have therefore honored the heroic efforts of these sailors and marines. If you have been there, you know that it has become a sacred place as well as a reminder of what can happen when others (either a nation or terrorists) attack this nation.
In 1941, the enemies of the U.S. were Japan and Germany. Today they are our friends. But we have new enemies. Terrorists who want to destroy us and to destroy our way of life. We are protected from their evil intentions by those who serve in uniform.
So today take a moment to reflect on your freedom that was bought with a price. And honor those who died for your freedoms and honor those who protect you today. December 7 is an important day, and I didn’t want it to pass without challenging you to consider its importance.