December 7, 1941 — A Day for Americans to Always Remember

…and reflect

Brian Tubbs

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Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire launched a devastating attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor. Crippling blows soon followed against other targets throughout the Pacific including an invasion of the Philippines.

The attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans — mostly military personnel, although 68 civilians lost their lives that day. There were 1,178 wounded. Nineteen U.S. Navy ships were destroyed or damaged, including 8 battleships — the most famous of which was the U.S.S. Arizona which remains at the bottom of the sea as a somber reminder of what happened that fateful day.

The attack drew the United States into World War II, which would ultimately cost the lives of over 50 million people. It remains the deadliest war in human history.

Americans should continue to remember December 7, 1941, even though it recedes further into history. While the attack may have happened 82 years ago, it’s still real. It’s as real as events that take place today.

We’re sadly losing our World War II veterans at a rapid rate. Fewer than 120,000 U.S. veterans of World War II remain — out of over 16 million Americans who served. My maternal grandfather is among those we lost — having passed away about a decade ago.

Though we’re losing that entire generation (just as we’ve already lost our World War I generation), what they endured and what they sacrificed should always be remembered by the nation they loved.

Therein lies one of the greatest tragedies. To my fellow Americans, I say it’s tragic that we now live in a country that increasingly doesn’t appreciate itself — one where many Americans frankly don’t love their country that much.

I understand that America has its share of sins and shortcomings — past and present. But this is no reason to hate your own country. There is good in our past and present too. I would argue the good outweighs the bad.

Patriotism doesn’t mean you agree with everything your fellow citizens do or that your government does. It just means that you value and appreciate your country — and you’re willing to work for its betterment.

As the great theologian Thomas Aquinas once said: “Love is to will the good of the other.”

To love your country is to will or desire good for your country.

The World War II generation succeeded in defeating the evil Axis Powers because they rallied together, made sacrifices, and overcame hardship.

If we don’t balance our grievances with gratitude and turn back from the tribal hatred into which we are descending, we will lose what they worked so hard to give us.

Let’s not let that happen. We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves.

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