Each year on December 7 we recall an event that changed the course of history and the destiny of civilization.
Nearly 70 years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor awoke a sleeping giant, and with it, produced what has been called the "greatest generation."
That day of infamy produced many U.S. casualties: 3,500 dead or wounded, 18 ships sunk or damaged and more than 350 aircraft destroyed. Although it was a day of great tragedy, it was also a day that served to reignite our national pride and our great national spirit.
We recall the events of December 7, 1941, but more importantly, we remember the thousands of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during that terrible ambush and in the years that followed.
America was strengthened by its enduring values of freedom, tolerance and service. The long odds we faced during the dark days that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, served to fuel the indomitable spirit of our nation and carry us through to victory.
Many of the survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor are no longer with us. Many of them went on to serve in other places; some became casualties of other battles. A good many returned home to their families and friends and quietly resumed their lives as civilians.
Their contributions, their sacrifice, their steadfast devotion to duty, God, country and to their families, provide us with examples we need to emulate every day of our lives. We remain inspired by their diligence and their perseverance, and today, we are strengthened by the memory of their actions.