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-six (76) 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.