By the time President Roosevelt had delivered his famous “Infamy” speech less than 24 hours after the first bombs fell on the island of Oahu, the Japanese had already formally declared war on the United States and the British Empire and attacked Malaysia, Hong Kong, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines and Midway. There were also reports of American ships being attacked along shipping routes between Hawaii and the California coast. Three days later, Nazi Germany declared war on the United States. No longer could the U.S. keep a safe distance from the second world war raging on the other sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. The war kicked in our nation’s front door and it was time for Americans to wake up and fight for freedom.
It is estimated 234 WWII veterans die each day and in 10 years, they will nearly all be gone. The death of retired U.S. Senator and WWII veteran Bob Dole this past weekend is a stark reminder that we don’t have much time left with them. That’s why we must take the time to hear their stories, preserve their legacy and honor their sacrifices.
On this National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) encourages everyone to take a moment to remember the 2,403 victims tragically lost in the attack, and remember the defining moment when brave young American men and women rose up to defend our nation, help liberate the world from tyranny and become “The Greatest Generation.”