The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Friday, December 7, 2012
Countless lives were changed forever on Dec. 7, 1941, including those of many Franklin County families. On that date, at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian time, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, a move that assured U.S. involvement in World War II. Involvement was most likely imminent anyway, but the attack made it inevitable and immediate.
The Japanese made the move to prevent expected opposition to their expansion in Southeast Asia, hoping that a crippling blow would be dealt to the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The blow was indeed tremendous.
More than 350 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes were launched in two waves from six aircraft carriers. Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk. Three cruisers and three destroyers were also sunk or heavily damaged, and 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.
More than 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded.
As we all know, the attack awoke the "sleeping giant." Americans stepped up to the plate, and within five years, the war ended.
We should always remember this date, as well as Sept. 11, 2001. We can never take freedom for granted, and we must always be prepared to fight for it.
That fight has a cost, though, as our soldiers are the ones who put their lives on the line. They are the ones who make the difference between freedom and tyranny. That's why we must honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and support those now in service.
On this Dec. 7, 71 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, we still live in a world full with conflict. But in this country, we continue to have freedoms other nations envy. Make no mistake, as Sept. 11, 2001, clearly showed, we have enemies who would destroy us if they could. We can never let down our guard or take any threat lightly.
Please take a few minutes today to remember Pearl Harbor and those brave soldiers who died on that day. We will always be indebted to them.