I haven't lived long enough to remember that fatal December 7th when so many of our Navy sank in an unprovoked attack. I can't claim to understand that feeling, though the closest that I can come to is the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11th. But that doesn't mean I can't feel the impact from that infamous day in my life. My grandfather, one of 6 brothers, was a welder and was moved to Oregon to build Liberty and Victory ships to carry soldiers and goods across the Pacific. My other grandfather, unable to join the Army because of health, worked on the land to grow food for the soldiers abroad, and those at home left to support their families with increasing rations. My father was born during World War II, and grew up with it imprinted by his father in how to appreciate his freedom. My wife's grandfather served aboard ship during World War II, while her other grandfather fought in Europe.
So many members of my family, immediate and extended, have served in the military in one way or another because of the failed promise of World War I that was World War II. The land here in the United States is scarred by the remnants of the internment camps for Japanese Americans, one of which was Topaz near Delta, Utah. One cannot go to Hawaii and not visit Pearl Harbor, the beginning of the war for the United States, and the awakening of the United States as a major military and economic power in the world.
There are so many points in history that can tie back to that one fateful day, and so many lives that have been effected. It's hard to forget such an event, when it penetrates so deeply into your life, and becomes a part of you.
Was I there for the bombing? No. But do I feel it's effect, even 70 years later? Oh, definitely. I think of the sacrifice, the courage, and the fear that shaped the emerging United States, and how it developed into the world of which I am now a part. I am grateful for the sacrifice, impressed and humbled by that courage, and ashamed by the fear that gripped my nation during that period. Perhaps one day the promise of world peace will be reached. Until then, I thank those who sacrifice so much for their country's freedom, and the freedom of others.