Never forget. Words we now associate with September 11th. Yet some sixty years before that horrific day, America suffered another terrible tragedy that should also remain in our hearts and minds.
Today is the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the morning of December 7, 1941 the Empire of Japan launched an unannounced two wave attack on the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In total, 2,402 American lives were lost and 1,282 were injured. This action directly led to the American entry into World War II.
When I was much younger, I had the opportunity to visit the USS Arizona Memorial. Even as a child, I recognized what a special place it was – the remains of many of its crewmen are still today trapped in the ship below the surface. To this day, air raid signals give me the chills. Some ten years later I got the same feeling when visiting Ground Zero in New York. There’s just something eerie about standing in a place where horrible things like that happened – almost like you can feel the fear, panic, and despair.
Pearl Harbor was the first time in modern history that the American people really felt truly vulnerable, something I think my generation wouldn’t fully understand until September 11, 2001. As overused as the “Never Forget” phrase can be, I think it’s so important for us to do just that – to become complacent and think that nothing bad will happen because we’re America is incredibly dangerous. More importantly, I think it’s so incredibly important to support, remember, and honor those who have fought (or are fighting for) our country.
So, I say, never forget.