Guest blog by Past National President Diane Duscheck
Dec. 7, 1941. The quiet of the early morning was broken at 7:53 when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Pearl Harbor. Bombs exploded, bullets filled the air, battleships and the harbor were on fire. The casualties of that fateful morning that ultimately led the United States into World War II included 2,335 military personnel and 68 civilians.
Dec. 7, 2017. Survivors of the early morning assault gathered to pay homage to their fellow servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1941. Over and over, the 20-year-old radio man, 18-year-old fireman, and 20-year old pharmacy mate have retold their stories of that chaotic and surreal morning and the bravery of every man and woman at Pearl Harbor. Many of their fellow servicemembers are still entombed in the battleships lying at the bottom of the harbor.
It is important for us to give pause on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, to recognize the bravery and selfless sacrifice of servicemembers who lost their lives on this day so many years ago — the courage, valor, and spirit of those who fought tirelessly throughout the battle and the resilience and determination of those who put themselves in harm’s way to rescue and recover as many servicemembers as they could. Our remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day brings to mind a life-changing experience, the consequences of war, and the resolve of our servicemembers.
Pearl Harbor Day is our opportunity to both thank our military, veterans, and their families, and to remember their great sacrifices each and every day. Our peace and freedoms come at a high cost — at times the cost is a life, health, or a memory. And yet, the survivors of battle are humble and accept their valiant actions as “just doing their job.” They believe that anyone in the same situation would have taken the same actions.
Thank you to all our veterans and military who continuously put themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy our many freedoms, and to their families who adjust to the empty chair at the table or have adapted to an altered lifestyle in order to help their veteran or active-duty military family member.