That day was much the same as this - a Sunday, our nation looking forward to the holiday season.
That changed with the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet anchored at Pearl.
The Japanese planes killed more than 2,300 Americans.
The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. The attack sank three other ships and damaged many additional vessels. More than 180 aircraft were destroyed.
A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Commander in Chief Pacific, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.
The following day President Franklin Roosevelt, addressing a joint session of Congress, called December 7 “a date which will live in infamy.”
Declaring war against Japan, Congress ushered the United States into World War II and forced a nation, already close to war, to abandon isolationism.
Within days, Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, and the country began a rapid transition to a war-time economy in building up armaments in support of military campaigns in the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe.
The number of Americans serving in and surviving the ensuing world war grows smaller by the day, as does the number of wives, brothers and sisters who contributed on the home front rather than in military service.
We have no new adjectives to describe their generation. The superlatives have all been used.
Suffice it to say - let us remember, always, their journey and who we might be had they not taken it.