It was 79 years ago this week — December 7 — that the nation of Japan launched its attack on Pearl Harbor.
The very next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened a joint session of Congress in which he famously declared the attack as, “A day that will live in infamy,” and asked Congress for a Declaration of War.
For more than two years prior to the attack, America had stayed out of the war that already had engulfed the rest of the world. By the time of the Japanese attack, Hitler’s Nazis had conquered all of continental Europe and much of Africa, while the Japanese had invaded almost all of Asia, save for the U.S. outposts in the Philippines and other small islands in the Pacific.
Americans clung to the belief that our isolation, separated from the rest of the world by two oceans, would keep us out of the war. But after Pearl Harbor, we no longer could keep our heads buried in the sand. The lessons of Pearl Harbor are many, but chief among them is that freedom isn’t free — and that we always must be vigilant to recognize the forces of evil that seek to destroy our way of life