Today we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. While it was a devastating blow to our Pacific fleet, it was not the knockout punch that some in the Japanese military thought it would be.
The loss of more than 2,400 servicemen was a horrific price to pay for not being fully on guard in a perilous world. Remember "Pearl Harbor" became the rallying cry that galvanized a nation wracked in a depression but able to answer the challenge to our survival.
There is no doubt that the famous saying "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance" should be our watchword. While we as a nation look not to conquer other nations, our national defense should be second to none.
Time and time again our brave men and women have answered the call to arms and many have died in that pursuit. We need not be a bellicose military country, but it must be firmly implanted in potential enemies' thoughts that we will respond with a terrible vengeance to any attack.
We are reminded of the motto of the 165th Infantry of the 42nd Division "Gentle When Stroked — Fierce when Provoked."
We all pray that we never have to go to war but the reality of life is that it is inevitable that conflicts arise from time to time. The best protection we can have is a formidable military respected by the rest of the world. With the new face of terrorism raised in the last decade our military has shown it is capable of defeating the enemy on the battlefield, but the battlefield has changed as the combatants have changed to fighters without uniforms or national colors. They have proven to be just as deadly as any uniformed force and have used the cover of civilians to wage their war.
We remember and honor all our veterans, but on this day we especially honor those Americans killed during the attack on that "Day of Infamy."