The attack on Pearl Harbor took place 70 years ago today. A nineteen year old Sailor in 1941 is 89 years old now. It is difficult for many Americans today to fathom the terror of December 7, 1941, since most of them were not alive to witness it.
But many were alive to experience the horrors of 9/11, and Pearl Harbor was no less traumatic for the country seventy years ago. Since the attack was planned and executed by a sovereign nation, the consequences were many. The nation knew it was going to war against a formidable, well-armed and well-equipped military that had shown a willingness to use its might against a perceived enemy.
Men and women joined in force. I have yet to meet a person who was of military age in the forties that was not touched by the war. Most enlisted. Others did their part to support the war effort.
It was a vastly different feel then than exists today, when approximately one percent of the population is touched by military service. About 12 percent of the population served in the military in WWII, or about one in ten.
December 7, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy, but the response by the citizens of the United States to work together, in spite of the fear and uncertainty of what awaited them, is one of this nation’s finest hours.