Observing Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
December 8, 2022
From the National Office
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
Edited and Submitted by Commander
Bill Tawater, Wahkiakum VFW Post 5297
Yesterday, we recalled an event that changed the course of history and the destiny of civilization.
More than 80 years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor awoke a sleeping giant, and with it, produced what has been called the "Greatest Generation."
That day of infamy produced many U.S. casualties: 3,500 dead or wounded, 18 ships sunk or damaged and more than 350 aircraft destroyed. Although it was a day of great tragedy, it was also a day that served to reignite our national pride and our great national spirit.
We recall the events of Dec. 7, 1941, but more importantly, we remember the thousands of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during that terrible ambush and in the years that followed.
Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke with prophetic words when he stated; "No matter how long it may take us to overcome the premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through absolute victory … with the abounding determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”
America was strengthened by its enduring values of freedom, tolerance and service. The long odds that we faced during the dark days that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, served to fuel the indomitable spirit of our nation and carry us through to ultimate victory against the Axis powers.
The attack on Pearl Harbor taught us that we need to be ever vigilant against enemies of our way of life. It taught us the necessity of maintaining a strong national defense, and a well-trained and well-equipped military, able to hinder the efforts of freedom-hating tyrants.
The lessons learned from the attack on Pearl Harbor have kept our nation safe and secure. But we learned on Sept. 11, 2001, that we must never let our guard down; that because we enjoy an abundance of freedom, we are not exempt from danger.
The attacks that occurred on Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001, prove one thing; our people may be killed and our buildings destroyed, but our enemies will never be successful in destroying our democracy or the American way of life.
Many of the survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor are no longer with us. Many of them went on to serve in other places; some became casualties of other battles. A good many returned home to their families and friends and quietly resumed their lives as civilians.
Their contributions, sacrifice, steadfast devotion to duty, God, country and to their families, provide us with examples we need to emulate every day of our lives. We remain inspired by their diligence and their perseverance, and today, we are strengthened by the memory of their actions. So, let us leave here equally resolved in our determination to serve our nation as well.