As I write this in one of the most desolate places in the world, where there are likely places where the last human to trod on the dirt was Ghenghis Khan over 1500 years ago, I am transported mentally to another place and time.
68 years ago Monday, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and other military installations on the island of Ohau were attacked, including Wheeler Army Air Field and Hickam Air Force Base.
The attack which came from the North side of the island stated at about 7:55am. All 7 of the active battleships were in the harbor, and one was in dry dock. They were all sunk or crippled, however the harbor being as shallow as it was allowed all but two, the Arizona and Oklahoma, were eventually repaired. I have been to the Arizona Memorial several times and it leaves me in awe each time. Many do not know that when the ship went down, it took over 15 sets of brothers with it, and 29 sets of Fathers & Sons. This information has been kept quiet as the country was reeling from the shock and this would have only compounded the grief.
Our planes at Wheeler field, Hickam Air Force base, and on Ford Island; which were aligned wing tip to wing tip, to prevent sabotage, were devastated.
I have spent many hours sitting on Ford Island, on a little beach that faces the Arizona Memorial. It is a solemn and beautiful place. The men on that ship are my brothers, as is every other Sailor & Marine. We all have worn the uniform of our country and serve proudly defending our flag, and for some who pay the ultimate sacrifice, coming home with the flag draped over them in honor.
Today, I sit in the middle of the Afghanistan desert, in a another place locked in a struggle for good over evil. We beat the Japanese by taking them on one battle at a time and showing them that we were the last best hope for the world.
Here, we are engaged in a fight that is wholly different, and very similar. We fight an entrenched enemy, who is fanatical beyond reason, and views us as inferior. They are allied with a enemy that engaged the attacks on 9/11. The Japanese saw us the same way and we understood that they would fight to the death. The enemy we fight is not in a uniform and will not surrender willingly or easily. They will strike us where we are vunerable, and target women & children.
FDR Stated :
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory....
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.
We need to follow through on this fight, and do our best.....we know the enemy will do their worst. We will win by the "unbounding determination" of our splendid military and our allies...so help us God.