Bullet holes from strafing still scar the buildings at Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu, a haunting testimony of the tragic events that occurred 80 years ago, a grim reminder of the “Day of Infamy” and the horrors of global war.
Eighty years ago, the picturesque, peaceful harbor in Honolulu was rocked by an unprovoked attack that changed the course of our nation and the world forever. The calm, cerulean seas within that tranquil port in O’ahu turned into a ghoulish, crimson lake of Hadean flames; twisted, ghostly grey metal wreckage, and agonizing death.
On December 7, 1941, Imperial Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack. Over 2,400 Americans lost their lives on that “Day of Infamy” – military members and government employees; and men, women, and children from the civilian population in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor.
The death, destruction, and devastation caused by the attack on Pearl Harbor became the catalyst that forced the United States to be rudely awakened from its “isolationist slumber.” It caused the nation to become, once again, the “Arsenal of Democracy;” and, by doing so, The United States became steadfast in its commitment to winning the Second World War and to bring down the “Axis of Evil.”
The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized the entire nation. “Remember Pearl Harbor” became the motto of a generation. Military Members performing their duties within their theaters of operation and the civilian population on the home front toiling in the factories and shipyards selflessly worked to defeat the nefarious aspirations of National Socialism, fascism, and imperialism.
The United States fought a war for freedom and human dignity against the nightmare of totalitarianism. In the end, the United States and the allied nations crushed totalitarianism. And, once that was done, the United States assisted its former adversaries to give birth to fledgling democracies that continue to flourish and prosper to this very day.
On this December 7, we should remember those who perished in the attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as those who gave their lives during the war, with a prayer of gratitude, and an unyielding determination to carry on their legacy of honor, courage, and commitment during these challenging times.
The scars of unprovoked aggression have remained on the buildings at Hickam Air Force Base. They continue to remind us how this nation came together to defeat the forces of evil — and how we shall continue to do so.
John Di Genio