It may seem like ancient history to much of the American population today, but we hope against hope that the lessons taught us at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, are still being taught today.
The Japanese sneak attack on our Pacific fleet in Hawaii on a sleepy Sunday morning caught our nation unprepared for the war that would follow. The warning signs were there but not fully comprehended or shared with those who needed to know them.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew there would be war; and there are still those who claim he deliberately got us into it and that we should have somehow stayed out. That is errant nonsense.
But FDR and the nation learned that a peacetime military that had been reduced to insignificance, both in manpower and in weaponry, had placed the U.S. in peril. It invited Japan to attempt its knock-out blow.
Four years of blood, sweat, toil and tears followed for the U.S. in Europe, the Pacific, North Africa, and even off our west coast in the Aleutian Islands. The bravery, ability, and attitude of our forces, coupled with the quick re-tooling of our manufacturing capacity at home, finally led to victory.
The “greatest generation’’ which fought, died, and ultimately won that victory is all but gone today. We need to keep its members in our own memory and teach our children what they did for us.