Lets continue to remember . . . Pearl Harbor
ON THIS DAY young Americans in uniform fight on battlefields in a distant land, committed to the perilous task of bringing freedom to a people long oppressed. Their war is vastly different than the one in which another generation of brave Americans were plunged on this same day 63 years ago. But their goals are the same.
On Dec. 7, 1941, war came to the United States through the surprise Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The assault took the lives of more than 2,400 and sank five battleships, severely damaged three others anchored alongside, crippled or sank other ships of the U.S. fleet, and destroyed much of the nations Hawaii-based combat airplanes.
Only two Army Air Corps fighter planes got into the air to battle the carrier-based Japanese planes that brought havoc to Pearl Harbor. One of those was flown by Ken Taylor, who survived many more combat missions during the war and who now makes Anchorage his home. After his retirement from a long career of active Air Force service, Taylor headed the Alaska Air National Guard, a brigadier general whose wartime heroism is still hailed.
World War II ended with victory over the Axis forces of Germany, Italy and Japan after four years of massive fighting in the North Pacific, the South Pacific, in North Africa, in Europe, China, Burma and India. In the restoration that followed, the rubble of the war in both Japan and Germany was cleared away and the nations that were once our enemies became our friends.
At Pearl Harbor, the attack of more than six decades ago is remembered at the USS Arizona Memorial, erected over the sunken remains of one of the battleships shattered in those opening moments of Americas entry into World War II. Arizona crewmen accounted for half of the initial casualties suffered during the attack.
The war in which these brave Americans fought and died is ancient history to many of todays generation. But the battles being fought today in the nations war on terrorism are real time in our lives as this year nears a close.
There was evil in the world back then, as there is evil in the world today.
Once again, as in 1941, young American men and women are bravely answering the call.
We remember Pearl Harbor and those who gave their lives to keep us free.
And we keep in our hearts and our prayers those who serve now, bravely following in the footsteps of other heroes whose sacrifices made America proud.