Dec. 7, 1941, was a day in history our older generation will remember and a day our younger generation should be told about.
It is known as Pearl Harbor Day, the day that ultimately led the United States into World War II.
It was a little before my time but I have seen movies, I have read history books and I can only imagine how it would have been to go to sleep in a beautiful place such as Hawaii and wake up to total chaos.
I am sure the word traveled slower in those days, but it did not take long for the headlines to reach around the world and everyone knew our military fleet at Pearl Harbor had been attacked leaving 2,403 dead; 1,178 injured; 188 planes destroyed and eight battleships damaged or destroyed. I have heard older people talk about gathering around the radio to hear the news.
Dec. 7 was my father-in-law's birthday. He always said he remembered his 34th birthday more than any other because of Pearl Harbor.
Several years ago a World War II veteran friend of mine from California sent me a CD with the speech made by President Franklin Roosevelt on Dec. 8, 1941, declaring war and calling Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live infamy.
As I listened to the words I could not help but get teary eyed even after all of the years.
I have heard my grandparents talk about those war years and how people at home sacrificed with rationing and shortages of what we consider necessities.
Many young men and women joined the military and I am sure there was a sense of patriotism as we saw after the 9/11 attacks.
Many young men left the farms to fight which was a hardship on the family farms, but I am sure everyone pulled together. I think it was during this time many people left our rural farms and went to work in factories for the war effort.
Not too many women had worked in factories before this time but with so many men serving in the military, women did go to work in factories to keep things going.
Today, if we need a new tire for our car we go buy it. If we need a pair of shoes we don't hesitate. If we want sugar for our tea and coffee, we have it at our finger tips. If we need to fill our cars with gas, we pull up to the pump and get all it will hold. We can enjoy all of those things and more because of our men and women who stand up and fight for our freedom.
Several years ago I visited Washington, D.C., and again I could not help but tear up as I visited the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Korean Memorial, and the other reminders of what people have done for me.
Yes, Dec. 7, 1941, is part of our history but we still have men and women serving in the military and some are still in harm's way.
The Manila Christmas Parade 2012 was a tribute to our veterans. Our World War II veterans served as grand marshals. They certainly deserved the recognition. All veterans are among our heroes.
As we go through the Christmas season, let's not forget to remember those who are not able to be with their families because they are away serving our country.