Dec. 7, 1941.
That was 71 years ago today.
That’s a long time ... 71 years. A very long time. If you asked people today what event occurred 71 years ago today, many of them would probably have to stop and think for a moment before answering.
That was the date when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor without warning,
Prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the invasion of Pearl Harbor stood out as the most-devastating single attack on the United States.
Dec. 7, 1941.
A total of 2,335 U.S. service members were killed that morning, and 1,143 were injured. Sixty-eight civilians were also killed, and 35 were wounded. These numbers were far more than the number of Japanese that were killed. Only 65 Japanese lost their lives.
The attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II. Thousands of U.S. families were broken up that day. Their lives would never be the same again with family members being killed. That’s what happens when more than 2,300 people become victims of war.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the U. S. president at that time, and most people remember his famous statement proclaiming Dec. 7, 1941 as “a date which will live in infamy.”
And that day did live in infamy.
Just for the record, Pearl Harbor is on the south side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu and is home to a U.S. naval base.
The Japanese specifically chose to attack on a Sunday because they believed Americans would be more relaxed and thus less alert on a weekend.
The Japanese launched their airplanes in two waves, approximately 45 minutes apart. The first wave of Japanese planes struck Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. The second wave reached Pearl Harbor around 8:40 a.m.
The United States declared war on Japan on Dec. 8, 1941, the day following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Remember Pearl Harbor!” became a rallying cry for the U.S. during World War II.
That remained a rallying cry until after the war was over.
During 1944 and 1945, the United States defeated the Japanese Navy and captured key West Pacific islands, eventually dropping atomic bombs on the country.
The Soviet Union followed through by declaring war on Japan and invading Manchuria. The Empire of Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, ending the war in Asia and cementing the total victory of the Allies.
It was a great day in August of 1945 for the United States when World War II came to an end. The Korean and the Vietnam wars would follow soon, but not until 9/11 in 2001 did the U.S. ever come under attack on the home front again. That’s when a series of four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania shocked the country.
Nineteen terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaida hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally flew two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City, with both towers collapsing within two hours.
Those crashes, and those that followed at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, changed the way Americans lived, just as Pearl Harbor had done 71 years ago today.
We all hope and pray that nothing like these two tragedies will ever happen again.
Dec. 7, 1941.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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