A Day of Infamy – 70 Years Later
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Paradise when ......... ......... .........
Around 8 AM, (70) years ago today, the Japanese swooped in, out of a brilliant blue sky over Hawaii, and bombed the port of Pearl Harbor to smithereens. Much of the muscle of our Navy was destroyed. Two thousand and four hundred US servicemen were killed.
I was seven months old.
In the next four years, as my consciousness grew, I became aware of all the activity around me. I saw soldiers in uniform. I saw my grandmother crying when the telegram came that her baby boy had been "Killed in Action" somewhere in Europe.
And finally, I remember guns being fired into the air, people running through the streets of our little South Carolina town, hugging and kissing each other. I remember folks saying: “It’s over!” And it was. But it left an indelible mark on my family and an even deeper mark on me.
Those first 4 years of my life, the formative years, were experienced under intense stress. I learned the cost of war right from the beginning stages of my life. I lost one uncle, in Belgium (the Ancestral homeland) another was machine gunned through both thighs and lay in a freezing stream in France, all night, until American troops found him the next morning. The icy water of that frozen stream saved his life. He suffered ”shell-shock” (referred to as "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" today) the remainder of his life. A summertime thunderstorm became an instant German artillery barrage. He would race for cover. The flashbacks were ever with him.
Others of my family were in the Pacific fighting the Japanese. They, too, came home with stories of Japanese Kamikaze planes hitting their ships and, in one case, finding the pilot alive. For whatever reason, the plane with the bomb attached, did not explode.
When we could get those veterans to talk, which was not often, I was spellbound by the stories of their experience. I soaked it up like a sponge.
You see, I learned, both from personal experience, and the second hand experience of my family members, who were in the hell of the Second World War, what war really is. And, I learned that you have no choice when the enemy brings the war to your doorstep, you must fight back, and you must prevail, no matter the cost.
Today, we find ourselves in another war, which was brought to our doorstep. In doing so, the enemy killed many more people with their sneak attack than the Japanese did with their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
I don’t suffer fools lightly. My generation shares that quality. Today we have people in our government who are advocating a policy of retreat for the United States in our war against terrorist in the Middle East. It does not seem to matter to those folks that an enemy, which has brought war to our shores, will not quit, and go home, just because we do. They will follow us back to our own country and continue to wage war against us here... in our land.
It makes no difference how many medals hang from a man’s uniform or suit jacket. For all the times he was right, represented by those medals, there are times when he is wrong.
Had the United States listened to the “doves” after Pearl Harbor, I would most likely be writing this missive in German rather than English. It was that serious then, and it is that serious now.
So, as we think, today, of the men and women who gave everything they had, including their lives, to insure that you and I would have a free country, let us think of the men and women serving today for the same reason.
On December 7th, 1941 the Japanese, and the Germans, wanted nothing less than the conquest of the world. Today the Islamofacists want the same thing.
You have to ask yourself… as an American… are you going to stand down, ground your weapon, and allow this evil from the deepest, darkest, depths of hell, to take your country? That is the question all Americans must ask themselves. For, understand, they will not stop with America. Once America is out of the way, the remainder of the world will fall to them as easily as dominoes.
The Men and Women (Caps Intentional) of 1941 had to ask themselves the same question. We had better thank Almighty God they answered in the affirmative.
Today, we honor them for it. But they will tell you, those who survive to this day, that there was no real question about what the people of America would do. It was simply understood that freedom was far too precious to allow the forces of evil to take it from us. And so they marched forth to stop it and preserve this country for you and me. And they did!
We can never thank them enough. Not only did they save America, they saved the world!
Are we, as Americans, prepared to give up our freedom today after that generation gave so much of their blood to preserve it for us?
I pray to God that America will finally awaken to the danger that threatens us and take the painful steps, whatever they might be, to preserve this country, and again, the world.
J. D. Longstreet