Freedoms, values and principles have burned a place into our existance as Americans. We have continually and repeatedly responded to threats on our way of life. During the 1930s and 40s, the world's Axis of Evil enslaved Europe and the far East to the point of destroying all hopes and ambitions and free spirit of responsible people who believe in a good and merciful God.
Early Sunday morning Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire launched a horrific attack on our Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A major part of our U.S. Navy ships were anchored side-by-side, with crews looking toward a day of relaxation, going to church or maybe just sleeping in. The planes on the horizon were first thought to be friendly aircraft on manuvers until they straddled the ships at anchor in the harbor and exploded bombs on the decks of many of the vessels, ripping steel, creating smoking infernos and slaughtering many of our peace-time Navy personnel.
Our on-site response was with immediate retalitory action by those who were able and with the salvageable equipment available. President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed our nation the day following the attack with a declaration of war on the Empire of Japan and stated Dec. 7 "will live in infamy" as the day of the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Empire.
Following our declaration of war, thousands of our country's elegible young men crowded U.S. Military enlistment stations volunteering their services to defend our nation in time of war. Sacrifices were not only made by our military, but our homefront able bodied volunteered for building ships, planes and armaments needed to win this war. Families went to rationing staples, sugar, shoes, tires, gasoline and anything our military needed for supplies. Housewives saved used cooking oil and turned it in to make nitro-glyceryn for explosives.
Our country came together for the purpose of saving this land of the free and the home of the brave, our land that offers opportunity to those who will support "one nation under God with liberty and justice for all."
Following our World War II victory, we became known as a free world superpower and when an international crisis arose our alert phrase was "remember Pearl Harbor."
To all those veterans who saved this nation and its life under our Constitution comprised and documented by our forefathers, we have finally erected a glorious monument of honor dedicated to this memory of all those World War II veterans who kept us and our democratic system free, veterans who after winning the war blended into the fabric of our nation, raised families and built our nation bigger and better.
Thank you, Lord, for the World War II veterans who made all we have possible.
"God Bless America"
Herb Stettler is service officer in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
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