Today, December 7, marks the 76th anniversary of the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces. The attack, and more importantly the response from the United States of America, reshaped the modern world order and resulted in the freest nation on earth taking it’s rightful place as the Leader of the Free World.
President Trump signs a presidential proclamation for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day December 7, 2017 at 2:15 p.m. ET.
The attack killed more than 2,300 servicemen. In response, the United States and the United Kingdom declared war against Japan the following day.
Ultimately, the U.S. defeated Japanese naval forces in the pacific theater and, after use of two nuclear bombs in Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered and World War II was officially over.
The generation that fought in that war is rightfully known as ‘The Greatest Generation’ for their honor, courage and sacrifice on behalf of freedom and American ideals.
Today we mourn the lives lost in Pearl Harbor, and through out the Second World War, while also reflecting upon the degree to which the world has changed over these 76 years. And, how much it has remained the same.
The total defeat of the Japanese Empire by Allied Forces didn’t just remove the threat Japan posed to world peace during that generation – the entire culture of Japan, thousands of years of conquest in the making, was altered, perhaps irreversibly.
With the mandated adoption of Democratic governing principles of individualism espoused by America and the West, the honor and ingenuity of the Japanese people flourished in the subsequent decades.
Eventually, and until recently, the island nation would become the second most productive economy on the planet. Its economic ascendancy was much like China’s over the last 30 years, but unlike the centrally planned communist nation of 1+ billion people, Japan achieved that perch through production innovations based on a capitalist system.
More than three quarters of a century after the devastating bombing of an American naval base by Japan, and their subsequent defeat at the hands of America and her allies, Japan and the United States now enjoy one of the closest alliances in the geopolitical world. The alliance remains of utmost importance as the world faces Chinese military expansion and nuclear threats from the despotic communist regime in North Korea.
The Greatest Generation is largely responsible for the incredible leaps in the human condition across the world since that fateful day in Hawaii.
They should be remembered always.