Pearl Harbor: The Catalyst for Change and the Sacrifice of a LifetimePosted by chris on Dec 5, 2012
December 7, 2012 marks a solemn moment of remembrance in the hearts and minds of Americans and especially veterans and their families as we recall a Sunday morning just before 8 am 71 years ago, arguably the avoidable tragedy that befell our nation’s military at Pearl Harbor. Many sacrificed that day and many life-times were lost but not our traditional remembrance and memorial tributes.
We honor as American’s the selfless service and sacrifice of those who stood vigilant an true to their pledge and dedication to serve America with the hope the government authorities they swore to take their direction from were indeed acting morally with their God given compass to make the correct decision when placed in harms way. Such was the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ of over 2400 American naval lives lost that calculating day. 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes attacked Pearl Harbor in two waves, from six aircraft carriers. America had 8 U.S. Navy battleships damaged and 4 sunk plus 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers sunk or damaged. One-hundred and eighty eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed with 2,402 Americans killed and 1,282 wounded. Japanese losses were calculated at 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost and 65 Japanese military killed or wounded.
I recall a visit I arranged in 2004 with group of Army officers for a specific ward tour of the Atlanta Veterans hospital while on active duty. We met with numerous veterans in need from various wars. One such encounter made an impression on me due to the historical significance of service. I had the honor to speak with a failing Navy veteran who was there at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Even to this day I recall the streaming tears as he lay in the bed with his wife sitting by his side. To the end he still missed his ship mates and wondered why he survived and they did not. Perhaps I thought it was his mission to tell the story of Pearl Harbor through a first hand accounting. You see, they are us and we are them………all waiting to be called home after our assigned mission is decided complete by the Heavenly Commander-in-Chief. His accounting of the Pearl Harbor attack was perhaps his final mission.
In its finality, the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, was the catalyst that politically and economically catapulted the United States to international power broker status despite most American’s prior to Pearl Harbor were comfortable with isolationism. This attack also reminds us that our service men and women are not pawns on a chess board then or now. It is our military’s moral and solemn duty to defend America and they should expect the pledge of those appointed over them to do no less. The Pearl Harbor attack unquestionably galvanized Americans and paved the way for the country’s entry into World War II against the Axis powers. Even to this day, controversy continues to swirl on who knew what when and if Washington ever disseminated the credible information of looming imminent hostilities to the naval base Commander Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Army General Walter C. Short. However, this will never diminish their memory or sacrifice of service no matter who calls the shots in Washington.
COL. Larry Mrozinski, USA RET
Georgia Republican Party Veteran’s Outreach Chairman