December 7th, 1941. The day that will forever live in infamy. The United States Pacific Fleet was hit hard. Battleship Row was prime pickings for the pilots of Imperial Japan as they bombed and torpedoed ships that fateful Sunday morning. All of the heavy hitters of the United States Navy were right there, lined up in neat rows. Machine guns that would normally provide anti-aircraft fire were unmanned, the crews were all out on weekend liberty. There was no way a defense could have been mounted.
Except…there was a defense mounted. Upon the realization of the attack, several sailors mounted a heroic defense. At least what little they could muster. That day, in Hawaii, fifteen men would perform such heroic acts that would result in being awarded the Medal of Honor. Lowly seamen all the way to ranking officers such as Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd were the heroes of that fateful day.
The hearts of America were devastated, but there was no way we were going to let that travesty be the end of it. There was no way we were going to sit back and take it on the chin. This December 7th, remember the heroism and the courage of those who put up a stalwart defense on short notice. Men like George S. Welch and Kenneth Taylor. These two men, only 2nd Lieutenants in the Army Air Corps who were able to get their planes aloft and subsequently shooting down several Japanese fighters. Men like John W. Finn who wreaked havoc on Japanese pilots by manning an exposed .50 caliber machine gun.
As we reflect and remember this December 7th those who gave their lives, let us not focus solely on the tragedies of that day, but how we responded. Let us remember that when over 2,300 of ours were taken on what was supposed to be a peaceful, beautiful tropical Sunday morning…we came back and avenged them. We took the punch, stood back up and took the fight to Imperial Japan with the utmost ferocity.
Men like these mentioned would not go down without a fight.
December 7th, 1941. A day that will forever live in infamy. Remember the fallen and follow the example of the heroes of that day.