Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Initial defeat...ultimate victory

**December 7, 1941 - The USS Shaw explodes during Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Photo credit to Getty Images**

Today at 12:55 EST there will be a moment of silence to remember the approximately 2,400 Americans who perished in the surprise military strike on Pearl Harbor over 70 years ago.
December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.
On that day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered to the world news that the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
I won’t go into a big history lesson because I am not able to interpret or define those stories but I’ll write out some of the facts I know.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was intended to neutralize the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and hence protect Japan’s advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.  The Japanese were seeking access to natural resources such as oil and rubber.  War between Japan and the United States had been a possibility each nation had been aware of (and developed contingency plans for) since the 1920s. 
Again, however, there was a lack of formal warning.
It was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, around 7:55am on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8th in Japan). 
The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.
The unexpected attack happened in two waves.  All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk.  So many lives lost, so many injured…and then came World War II.
Have you ever been to Pearl Harbor?  My dear friend Robin took me.  It’s impactful and unforgettable.  Dramatic photographs are displayed alongside memorabilia from the aftermath.  The documentary is powerful but even more moving is the Navy-operated shuttle boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial.  You must go someday if you haven't.
With overtones of sadness, I stood in awe of what I couldn’t even begin to imagine.  Thank you Robin for sharing that with me.
Reflection…honor and ultimately, inspiration.
Let’s remember.

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