Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor 70 years Later

"December 7th, 1941. A day which will live in Infamy" -FDR

I can hear those words on the old video clip from FDR in my head. It was one of those moments in history that really changed how the world was. It catapulted an already-at-war world and made it truly global.

And it all started on this day, 70 years ago.

On a personal level, I have visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. It was 10 years ago, yet the mood was as somber as it is on any other day surrounding that memorial. Today is a sacred day in Oahu, and even though most of the veterans who come back for December 7th service are fewer in numbers than the year before, their importance in being there is paramount. They are the last of a dying breed of messengers who tell a story of what happened, and where they were 70 years ago at that turning point in history.

USN Carrier Lincoln with manned rails, passing the USS Arizona Memorial inside of the Battleship USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor

There are few dates in time that ring a bell, but immediately when I see December 7th, I think about Pearl Harbor. Before that day, the United States had an already powerful existing navy, and was a global leader. However, after that day, the United States was reborn into the Industrial giant that it is today and this was its birthday. Today is the day 70 years ago that the Americans really took power of the world stage. That's why today is such an important day in history.

The Japanese Admiral who was the architech of the Pearl Harbor attack was Isoruku Yamamoto. He was a Harvard educated man who deeply understood the Industrial might and potential of the United States. After the attack on Pearl Harbor was complete, and a smashed US fleet sat in ruins in Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto uttered his famous words, "I feel that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve."

And in so many ways, he was right.

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