Today is Dec. 7, the 64th anniversary of the day President Franklin Roosevelt said would "live in infamy." This is the day the Empire of Japan launched an uprovoked, pre-emptive strike against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On that day, a single, carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as an obstacle to the Japan's imperialist expansion in the Pacific. The United States, unprepared and suddenly considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.
The day before the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan launched an attack against Malaya. The night before the Pearl Harbor attack Japan attacked Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippine Islands and Wake Island. The same morning as the Pearl Harbor attack the Japanese attacked Midway Island. It was all part of a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area.
The attack destroyed or damaged 12 United States battleships, destroyed 188 aircraft and killed 2,403 American servicemen and 68 civilians. Of the dead, 1,177 were ship's company aboard the USS Arizona. The USS Arizona still lies on the muddy bottom of Pearl Harbor, a shrine to World War II American dead.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan had the most modern, most formidable navy in the world. In the course of three-and-a-half years, the United States completely renovated its own navy and reduced the Imperial Navy to scrap metal. The rallying cry was, "Remember Pearl Harbor."
Although a majority of Americans who lived through that Day of Infamy, both in Hawaii and on the mainland, are are no longer alive, we can and should take a moment today to honor their memories and the remaining survivors.