Our View: Forever etched . . .
Posted: December 7, 2012
At dawn we slept, as the book title states, and just after dawn they struck — warplanes flying low, fast, and hard across the breadth of an island paradise.
But paradise was lost that morning 71 years ago today — Dec. 7, 1941 — when the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet moored at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
The surprise was complete, the carnage widespread — 21 ships (including the USS Arizona, which still resides in the harbor’s murky depths) lost or severely damaged, 188 planes destroyed, 2,403 Americans dead. Still, it could have been worse, as the fleet’s three aircraft carriers — the Lexington, Saratoga, and Enterprise — were all away from port.
For all the devastation wrought, all the Japanese truly did that day was awaken a “sleeping giant.” Their early-morning assault proved the clarion call of a generation, one now routinely called America’s “greatest.”
With each passing day, this generation grows ever smaller. It’s now but a remnant vanishing before our very eyes. But its example, one of stoic sacrifice and stick-to-it-iveness, remains forever with us, as well it should — for these people, by virtue of their sacrifice, bequeathed to us, their progeny, a far better world than the one they inhabited that fateful December Sunday 71 years ago.