It is a day that would go down in our history books, a day that we’d share with our kids, and our kids with their kids. A day that continues to inspire many brave men and women to serve our country; that many years later still brings sadness and tears to many, but also brings hope.
Hope in the unity of a country in even the worst of times.
Faith that as Americans we can come together and fight to protect our way of life, our freedoms and our families.
That we can each fight, hand in hand, help and heal each other.
A reminder that sometimes the worst events in history can bring out the absolute best in people. From these times emerge the most unexpected qualities in people, the most amazing actions of humanity and kindness and heroes.
Today, I will think of those brave people, all gone too soon, leaving behind families and friends. Paying the ultimate price for the security of our nation. I will light a candle, I will say a prayer and I will share this story with my children. At bedtime, when the lights are low and my sweet children are sleepily dreaming I will give thanks. For those who I’ll never personally know, for those whom I do, for all who took the torch to fight, today. To guard the same rights and continue to protect our land no matter the cost, to those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
And I’ll pray they never have to.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941:
Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. . .
Source: Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.