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Pearl Harbor Day: a date which will live in infamy

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Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a "date which will live in infamy," is fast approaching once again. Seventy-two years ago, on a bright Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the military forces of the Japanese empire.

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Over 2,400 Americans were killed, and 1,100 wounded by the time the attack was over. Four battleships were sunk, and four more were badly damaged. The attack also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. A total of 188 warplanes were also damaged.

The following day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress, giving what is considered one of the 20th century's most important, and dramatic political addresses.

Now called "The Infamy Speech," it wasn't very long, only lasting a mere seven minutes, but the choice of words, as well as its delivery expressed not only the outrage of a president, but the outrage of a nation. That opening paragraph was to set the stage for a formal Declaration of War.

"Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

To our younger generation, the day has been relegated to the pages of our history books, but to the dwindling numbers of the generation who actually lived through the event, The attack is still as real as if it had only just happened.

The youngest of those survivors of Pearl Harbor are now in their 90's, and some of them are wondering if when they are gone, will anyone still take the time to remember what happened on that date so long ago, "that date which will live in infamy."

Perhaps the most important lesson we can take away from this day of remembrance, is this; History has shown us that freedom is not something we can take for granted, but instead, it is a gift we must always seek to protect and be willing to fight for.

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