Pearl Harbor 75 Years Later

It was 75 years ago this morning that the front page of The Boston Daily Globe told readers of the wholesale devastation that Japanese aviators had inflicted the day before on United States forces across the Pacific Ocean areas, in particular the territory of Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, home base of the nation’s Pacific fleet. The nation later learned that some 2,400 Americans had died that day at the hands of the Japanese. Bombers also attacked the US-held Guam and Wake islands and British holdings in the central and western Pacific.

Later that day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation that a state of war now existed between the United States and the empire of Japan; it was a war that would end almost four years later in the wake of mushroom clouds over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In a presidential proclamation issued this week by Barack Obama, he said in part:

“Each year on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we honor those whose lives were forever changed that December morning and resolve to uphold the legacy of all who stepped forward in our time of need.

“From the docks of Pearl Harbor to the beaches of Normandy and far around the world, brave patriots served their country and defended the values that have sustained our Nation since its founding. They went to war for liberty and sacrificed more than most of us will ever know; they chased victory and defeated fascism, turning adversaries into allies and writing a new chapter in our history.

“There can be no higher tribute to these American patriots than forging a united commitment to honor our troops and veterans, give them the support and care they deserve, and carry on their work of keeping our country strong and free.”