December 7, 1941 – “A Date Which Will Live In Infamy”

Veterans Day 2022


There are many historical writings and documentaries about WWII and the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan, but has a concise summary which is a great starting point for those who may be too young to remember this life changing event in the course of history.  The HISTORY article may be viewed HERE[*].

In summary, although war in the European Theater had long since begun, the US was remaining neutral as to direct involvement in a growing WWII.  With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was concerned about a possible Japanese attack on the US, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor – the home of the US Pacific Fleet (Navy).

On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, at approximately 7:02 AM, radar operators stationed at Oahu spotted large groups of inbound aircraft from the north, but because some B-17 aircraft were expected that morning, no alarm was sounded.  At approximately 7:55 AM, the resulting Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the Pearl Harbor naval base and the nearby Hickam Airfield.  It was fortunate that all three Pacific fleet carriers were at sea for training at the time of the attack.  These US aircraft carriers had revenge against Japan six months later at the infamous Battle of Midway.

Three days after the Pearl Harbor attack, both Germany and Italy declared war against the United States.  The US was now fully engaged in a war with two fronts, Pacific and European, and was fighting alongside allied forces for the fate of the free world against the Nazis of Germany and the Empire of Japan.  The American contribution to the successful allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.

Whether veterans served in the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard or the Merchant Marine, and whether this service happened decades ago or very recently, there are certain experiences unique to all veterans.  Veterans learn quickly to serve and trust each other; to reach for goals much greater than their own personal or selfish desires; to give preference to one another; to lay down their lives for each other (if necessary); and to operate in absolute integrity – living as one under authority, willingly.

I hope this, in some way, reminds you of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who willingly serves others – and even died at the cross of Calvary to save us, even though none of us were deserving.

Military service changes everyone and some have experienced things which are just too difficult to speak about, but even those who weren’t in the heat of battle may be suffering deeply, on the inside.  There is an inherent internal conflict with the pride of doing a great job and the reality of what that job entailed.  The comradery established in military relationships is almost impossible to recreate in civilian life.  Bottom line – there are hurting and lonely veterans among us who need your love and His love, not judgment.  As you go about enjoying this weekend, by all means, give honor to our veterans, but please keep your spiritual eyes and ears open for those who simply need a hug and some companionship.

If I may, on a personal note, as a USAF bandsman based out of Anchorage, Alaska, I had the honor of flying to Hawaii twice during 1991.  The first trip was to perform music at a multi-branch military tattoo, and the second trip was to provide ceremonial music honoring the (then) living veterans of WWII and the 50th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.  As part of the USAF band, I was honored to have my musical arrangement of Amazing Grace played for the WWII veterans in attendance.  I also had the privilege of performing Reveille at the Hickam AFB flagpole on December 7, 1991 – at exactly 7:55 AM.  Perhaps most striking was seeing and touching the intentionally-unrepaired strafing marks on the Hickam AFB command building.  Dear God, this is life changing.

Let us remember this day:

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren [1 John 3:16, NKJV].”

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends [John 15: 12-13, NKJV].”

[*]Article Credits:  HISTORY website at, authored by editors, initially published by A&E Television Network on 11/24/2009.

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