Remembering Pearl Harbor
On Dec. 7, 1941 - sixty-five years ago today, pilots from a Japanese carrier force bombed Pearl Harbor. They killed two thousand, four hundred and three Americans, most of them service personnel, while destroying much of the American naval fleet and air planes stationed in Hawaii.
Our citizens reacted to the attack with firm determination to defeat tyranny and secure our Nation. This enterprise required the commitment and effort of our entire country. At the height of the conflict, the United States had ships on every ocean and troops on five continents. In all, more than sixteen million Americans wore the uniform of our Nation. They came from all walks of life. They served honorably and fought fiercely. At home, millions more contributed to the war effort, laboring for victory in our factories, on farms, and across America.
In the decades since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, countless survivors have made the long journey back to Hawaii every five years to remember comrades who were lost and to catch up with those who lived but later went their separate ways, but this year's reunion holds an urgency that hasn't been part of gatherings past. Most Pearl Harbor survivors are nearing their 90s or even older say this may be their final trip back to this place that changed the course of their lives and their nation forever.
Today, we honor those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, and we pay special tribute to the veterans of World War II. These heroes hold a cherished place in our history. Through their courage, sacrifice, and selfless dedication, they saved our country and preserved freedom. As we fight the war on terror, their patriotism continues to inspire a new generation of Americans who have been called to defend the blessings of liberty.