From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
On December 7, 1941, the territory of Hawaii was experiencing a normal Sunday morning with mostly clear skies and balmy weather. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening. Many ships were in Pearl Harbor for the weekend during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when everyone hopes for a peaceful and restful conclusion of another year.
The USS Enterprise was headed back to port from Wake Island with Task Force 8 after a top-secret mission. The ships were scheduled to arrive on December 6, but bad weather at sea caused damage to one of the destroyers. Thirteen ships were fortuitously delayed and saved from possible destruction.
An employee of the Japanese consulate, Takeo Yoshikawa, had been in the Hawaiian Islands for several months and had been spying on military movements and relayed to Japan the ideal time and place to impart the maximum devastation to the American fleet.
The attack on Pearl Harbor shows how a country can transition from peace and tranquility in a matter of seconds, just like 20 years ago on September 11, 2001. It is only when our military remains prepared and vigilant that we are a strong deterrent against those who wish us harm. We must be alert to subversion from within our borders, whether by a foreign or domestic enemy.
A quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican President, stresses the importance of military readiness against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and continues to ring true today: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
As we remember our fallen heroes of Pearl Harbor on this December 7th, we pray that their sacrifice will be heralded for centuries to come and that the United States remains vigilant and never again experiences a similar surprise attack within our national boundaries.