America has hundreds of epic and hard fought battles in the history books, but battles like Belleau Wood, Arnhem, Inchon, Hue and the too many others to list are not widely known, despite having profound and significant impact on the United States military and the study of warfare.

So why, with so many significant battles, do we all know about the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Ask any adult about the Battle of Inchon and you’re likely to get a blank stare, but ask any fourth grader about Pearl Harbor and you’re likely to get a history lesson about the attack that thrust America into World War II.

On December 7, 1941, a foreign force launched a surprise attack that killed 2,403 American Servicemembers. The event effectively etched into the American psyche because it was not only an attack on Pearl Harbor, it was an attack on the decency and on the soul of the American people.

Americans were stunned by the attack, and suddenly all opposition to our active involvement in World War II was ended. Americans resolved to avenge what the Tokyo Trials would eventually call a war crime.

Seventy-four years later we still remember the event with the moniker “We Will Never Forget.” Four generations after the attack, school children gather in remembrance, news outlets run feature stories on the survivors who are still with us, Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen don dress uniforms and attend ceremonies from Pearl Harbor to Washington D.C., and the world takes just a moment to commemorate “the date which will live in infamy.”

Following the attack, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto feared it awakened a sleeping giant, referring to the resolve of the American people. We may have our differences, our conflicts with one another, and our opinions on the direction of the country, but when attacked by an outsider we pull together as one powerful and steadfast opponent.

We remember Pearl Harbor because it was an attack on our heart; it was an assault on our national soul.

We remember because to forget is to dishonor the memory of those who gave their lives that day and those who would eventually give their lives in the defense of liberty and freedom.

We remember because our unity stands as a staunch reminder to potential foes that an attack on the American people will be avenged. That our resolve is our strength.


On Dec. 7, the National World War II Memorial held a ceremony remembering the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and honored the Veterans who were there and those who answered the call to serve in World War II.

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8 Comments

  1. BeBe December 15, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I am a Pearl Harbor survivor. You see, my father was there when it was bombed. He lived through the whole thing being discharged from the Army soon after in “poor condition” with NO benefits. As his daughter I also endured the bombing. No, it wasn’t in person since I wasn’t even born. It was through the neglect and insult he and I later endured and finally got beyond that I say, “I’m a survivor”.

  2. Wendell Wood Abbey December 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Hello, My comment is that I want to go back home to Honolulu, Hawaii as soon as possible from here in Las Vegas, Nevada, so please let me know how you would be able to help me go back home. Hope you would ship me home for free, because a while back I asked the Veterans Office if they would do this for me and they said that I need my papers, and I can not find my papers, so please let me know if it is possible for me to be sent home by the Veterans Administration Company. Thank you Mr. Wendell Wood Abbey

  3. Jim Lenz December 12, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I served once. Now I’m 68 years young. I’m quite willing and ready to serve again.

  4. Sheridan Peterson, USMC 557214 December 11, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I am a World War II Marine Corps vet, , so I have earned the right to speak out. After teaching English to classrooms of very polite Japanese college kids for eight years I gradually grew to understand just what we’d done. And we are at present stirring up a second Pearl Harbor, but this time with China. The other day I read that we had spy planes in Singapore antagonizing the Chinese because of some atolls in the South China Sea and for flying their bombers out over international waters. How many hundreds of super fortress bombers do we have in Guam and Okinawa just off the coast of China, and why? The next Pearl Harbor is sure to come, and this time it will be nuclear missiles. Syonara.

    A VET FOR PEACE

  5. Annie J Stevens December 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I LOST MY WW2 MARINE THIS YEAR BECAUSE HE GOT POOR TREATMENT FROM THE VA IN MANY PLACES, BY THE DOCTOR THAT SUPPOSEDLY IS OVER THE VA HOME IN WARRENSBURG MO., WHAT A JOKE, HE IS OUT FOR HIS PRIVATE PRACTICE, HAS LITTLE TIME FOR THE VETERANS THAT ARE IN NEED. AND THE VA HOSPITAL IN KANSAS CITY, LEFT HIM TO SIT IN POOP WHILE 2 DOCTORS STOOD A FEW FEET AWAY CHATTING, WHEN I CAME INTO THE ROOM I HAD TO CLEAN HIM UP IN THE SHOWER, BECAUSE THE SINK WOULD NOT WORK, AS THE HELP STOOD OUT IN THE HALL LAUGHING AND JOKING AND NOT HELPING ME WITH THIS HUSBAND OF 59 YEARS. WHAT A LOSS, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THEM

  6. Terry L. Willison Sr. December 8, 2015 at 11:28 am

    God Bless all Men and Women that have served in the Military. I want to thank them for there service to this Great Country. To our Great Flag. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

  7. DannyG December 7, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Brother Killen, Your article made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! I just pray that enough of us remember, bcuz America & Her citizens are in grave danger today! Too many times, the enemies have been enabled, even aided by the lack of strong American leadership. Many American lives were lost on this day in 1941, & the whole world still talks of the fury Pres. Roosevelt unleashed – the U.S. Military!
    America is in a dangerous time. The very thing that made Her so great is turning around & biting Her in the a **. WHEN the time comes, I am willing to protect my country, family, friends, & neighbors, again. When it all busts loose, our military will take care of business! America’s Veterans, Rednecks, Hippies,Bikers, Hunters, … America’s Citizens! will do our part, too!
    GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  8. Les Dunkin December 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I would like to thank every man and woman who has served or are serving in the military to prptect us from our enemies. On December 7, 1941 we were attacked and it thrust us into WW 2. Today we are being attacked on our own land once again. We need continue to fight the radicals that want to destroy us and take our freedoms from us. I pray for the safety of each and everyone in this fight.God Bless you. Les

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