A Day That Shall Live in Infamy

It’s 70 years ago today and, as I think of it, it makes me feel ancient.

No, not that I was around back then, obviously I wasn’t, but as I grew up it wasn’t some point in ancient history, which is how our children will see it. To put it into perspective, think back on who you were in 1984. Then think about how you thought about the outbreak of World War I. That, back then, was 70 years ago as well. I can’t recall being taught much about the lessons of the Guns of August back when I was a strapping teen, and I don’t imagine that our kids will be taught much about December 7, 1941 today.

Unless we teach them ourselves.

Because the lessons learned are timeless, so teach them we must.

Among the things we can learn was that this great nation of ours is a lot more resilient than most people think, and that includes myself in my darker moments.

We were attacked in an act of utmost perfidy, ambushed by an enemy who, although professing to worship honor, had none himself. We were hit hard, hit to the point where many wondered if we’d ever get up again from the initial blow, hit at a point in our history where our military was, compared to other nations already at war for two long years, barely in its infancy.

We look back with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and see it as inevitable that we would prevail, but in fact there was nothing inevitable about it. Few at the time thought that the United States would be a force to be reckoned with for years after that if ever, but all of the pessimists were proven wrong. In one year, the United States was strong, getting ready to fight a war on not one but two fronts. In a mere two years, the tide had turned and in a relatively short two more years, the United States would be the strongest military force this world had ever seen.

What caused this? How did Admiral Yamamoto’s prophecy about the sleeping giant come true to such an extent?

Providence, to be sure, played a great part. Our carriers just so happened not to be at Pearl when the strike hit, and that was before anybody truly knew how vital, how transformative carriers would become to naval warfare. It wasn’t the first time that Providence had lent a helping hand either. There was nothing “inevitable” about a bunch of ragged colonialists defeating the strongest army on the planet in their fight for independence either.

But Providence can’t do Its work if Its tools aren’t up to the job, and throughout our history we have proven that we are up to any job that fate may throw at us.

The resilience, the determination, the “can do” spirit, the love of country, the willingness to sacrifice and our endless optimism and belief in ourselves and the righteousness of our cause, that has always made us unique as a nation. That is what that poo-poo’ed “American Exceptionalism” is all about, and we’re blessed to have it because without it we wouldn’t be here.

And we have it still, no matter what our internal enemies, socialists and “moderates” alike, try to tell us.

We have it, but only if we hold on to it and fight for it. It is not a given, it is earned. The good news is that it’s there for us if we bother to reach out for it.

The Americans of 1941 didn’t moan and cry that defeat was inevitable, that the fleet was crushed, that our enemies were too strong and on the offensive (and you have to keep in mind that December of 1941 was the high water mark of the Axis Powers) and that the best we could do was to compromise, to drag out the inevitable and hope for the best.

They rolled up their damn sleeves and decided that, come what may, it was time to kick some ass. That victory would be ours no matter what it took, no matter how long it took, and that anything short of total, crushing, unconditional victory was NOT an option. Like the Brits at the time of the Battle of Britain when all seemed lost, we shrugged it off and went to work, confident in our cause and our ultimate victory.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Some say that we don’t have that spirit anymore. I wonder at times myself. But then again I look at our generation’s youngsters who keep going back into the breach, believing as those grandparents and great-grandparents of theirs, that victory comes only to those who never give up, that this is a fight worth fighting because the alternative to victory is not worth living with.

Yes, we have grown a bit soft as a result of decades of affluence and indifference to our nation’s enemies march through our institutions, but even though this is our darkest hour, we still have what it takes to beat back the forces of darkness and prevail in the end. It’s been done before. Our nation has faced perils larger than ours, yet here we are.

The only way we can lose is if we give up the fight before the fight is over.

It is easy to give up, I know only too well because I, too, have found myself exasperated more times than I can count, but it would also be a great dishonor, an disgraceful show of utter disrespect to those who went before us if we do give up while we still have breath in us. Nothing we can do will guarantee victory, but doing nothing will guarantee defeat.

Nothing dishonorable in going down in the defense of a noble and worthy cause. History will not look down on those who died for that, but generations to come will scorn, justifiably so, those who threw away their sword while they could still wield it and bowed their necks to the enemy.

So the Hell with compromise, the Hell with hoping the alligator will eat you last. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes!

Before us lies victory, behind us nothing but eternal disgrace.

A great gift paid in blood was passed on to us.

Let us resolve, then, that it will NOT be taken away from us until our own blood has been drained from us.

We will never submit, we will be victorious, and we would make very poor slaves since we’d be dead before the shackles were put upon us.

We owe it to those who went before.



  1. 1

    (Cue’s the Rottie Chorus)

  2. 2
    americanexpat growls and barks:

    Pearl Harbor was just the beginning. Black days were ahead. Our forces in the Philippines were also attacked, as were British forces in Malaya, and the Dutch in what was then the Dutch East Indies (and my current outpost in the world). The disasters at Corregidor, Bataan, Singapore, and the Sunda Strait were in the immediate future. Not until the Coral Sea in May 1942 did we even blunt the Japanese juggernaut, in what was more of a tactical stalemate than anything else. But then in early June came Midway, with Japan suffering its first major naval defeat in more than three centuries, and then Guadalcanal two months later, and the tide began to turn in earnest. But the Japanese contested every foot of every God-forsaken island they held, and it was never easy. Reclaiming the Pacific would have been impossible the courage and determination of American soldiers (including those in the USAAF), sailors, and Marines. And let’s also give due credit to our allies, especially the Australians, who gave better than they got against battle-hardened Japanese infantry in brutal, close-quarter fighting in some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth, like the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea.

    Much has changed in 70 years. We now count Japan as one of our closest allies in Asia, while our relationship with former-ally China could euphemistically be described as “complex” (i.e., if we don’t watch them like a hawk every second, they’re going to eat our lunch, and then try to sell us back the scraps). (Actually, it was “complex” back in the days of Chiang Kai-shek, too; Harry Truman didn’t call him Generalissimo Cash My Check for nothing). But one thing that hasn’t changed in 70 years is that we as Americans hold the nation’s future in our own hands. Are we up to the challenges, whether those come in the form of an Al-Qaeda terrorist or a crushing national debt? Despite all that has happened, I’m still betting on us. And never forget December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.

  3. 3
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    Brilliant boss, simply brilliant and elegant. Our children will NEVER be taught this lesson in the classroom. That time is instead spent on selling gay lifestyles to 3rd graders.

    It is entirely up to us to teach them well.

    The kids I manage have no sense of history before their own birthday. It’s telling of the narcissistic society we’ve created that anyone would feel the world started on the day they came into it. It sounds incredible but is nonetheless true and horrifically sad.

  4. 4
    Igor, Imperial Booby growls and barks:

    Indeed, Jackboot, indeed – they will have to learn the lessons for themselves. There are some out there that have the lessons instilled in them, they are currently or recently serving. ‘Twill take a major upheaval for them to come around, but come around they will since I do believe we STILL have a core of Genuine Patriots in this country. Still.

    My profound thanks to all who have served, are serving, and will server. Yeah, I put my time in, but nothing like what the WWI, WWII, and Korean war vets went through! I can’t say thanks enough.

  5. 5
    Mark12A growls and barks:

    Wonder if SCOAMF is going to apologize to someone for Pearl Harbor?

  6. 6
    LC hilljohnny growls and barks:

    To put it into perspective, think back on who you were in 1984. Then think about how you thought about the outbreak of World War I. That, back then, was 70 years ago as well. I can’t recall being taught much about the lessons of the Guns of August back when I was a strapping teen, and I don’t imagine that our kids will be taught much about December 7, 1941 today.

    my daughter has U.S. history this year in high school. i was able to show her my 6g’grandfathers pension papers from the revolution, our family name on the Alamo memorial, gg,grandfathers who served on both sides of The Great Unpleasantness, my grandfather and g,uncle who were Over There, and my father (11th Airborne) and uncle who served during WW2. history is a family thing.

  7. 7
    LC HJ Caveman82952 growls and barks:

    I am no longer tolerant, seeing the left’s game for what it is.
    For it is evil and cowardly.
    Not a fucking inch………..
    My dad rotted in a POW camp……………
    My Australian uncles fought in New Guinea , a hell hole if there ever was one. uncles fought in New Guinea…….
    I do know one thing..
    And I have tried to live it…..
    If you believe or love…………….
    You stand, your character in stark contrast to lesser mortals.
    They will hate you for it…..
    As the left hates us,
    And for similar reasons…..
    You leave them behind to their chosen fate…..
    And step forward into yours….and ours.
    We remain of a breed, a kind, souls loving freedom more than anything else…….God, guns and country.
    That flame must never go out, for in it remains the hope…..
    To imspire others, the young being handed the baton…………………
    Teach them well, by example.
    God is my inspiration………..my friend and my strength.

  8. 8

    thank you Emperor, I’m so glad that SOMEONE remembered what happened today.

    you may be the only one from what I’ve seen so far.

  9. 9
    LC Draco growls and barks:

    americanexpat @ #:

    Absolutely beautiful…I was watching Foxnews (THERE’s a shock!) and I heard that there are history books that only devote 1/2 page to Pearl Harbor. Pitiful….

    As a side bar, I have actually done the Bataan Memorial Death March (The 26.2 mile military light category). And that was just ONE day!!! The REAL MARCH

  10. 10
    FrJim, Imperial Chaplain growls and barks:

    I am on Oahu for this special day.

    Shook the hands of five survivors on Monday.

    Prayed at the USS Arizona and USS Utah memorials.

    A B-17 overflew Pearl Harbor this morning. The Survivors saluted their fallen comrades in the harbor.

    They are the giants…we are the Wannabes.

    Rest well, warriors.

  11. 11

    FrJim, Imperial Chaplain says:

    They are the giants…we are the Wannabes.

    So eloquent, so true. We shall never measure up to what they did, but in striving to be but a portion of what they were we shall do more than we ever could have on our own.

    We wore mourning bands on our badges today, and our flags were at half-mast in remembrance and honor. At least this year no one asked “Who died?”

  12. 12
    LC Guy S growls and barks:

    It’s 70 years ago today and, as I think of it, it makes me feel ancient.

    So true Empirer, so true. I was born 15 years after the attack, and all through school, at least until high school, every kid I grew up with knew what December 7th ment. Heck, we had Fathers, Uncles, Great Uncles, and Grandfathers who fought in the War that little “wake up call” gave our nation. Ever after we would no longer be able to rely on isolationism, as a viable deterrent to (becoming involved in a) war. Both oceans were no longer large enough to protect us…to buffer us from our enemies.

    So yeah, we remembered…watched the replaying of film (in black and white) on “The Twentieth Century” , as they brought not only this signal event into our living rooms, but large chunks of the War as well. Watched “Combat”, and 12 O’clock High (tv show and the movie). Often with the same relatives/family members who fought in the War. We remembered….and as we got older…began to, if not only understand some of what they went through (especially those of us who also served)…. but to revere them as well.

    And here we are 70 years later. Facing a potential “two front war” of our own. One enemy a billion people strong, scattered across the globe, who profess allegiance to a god and prophet whose essence goes against all our culture and civilization stands for. The other enemy, is with-in our borders, our cities, states, neighborhoods, even our very families. In their own fashion, they are also against everything this nation, it’s culture, and it’s history, stand for.

    I hope we have the courage and resolve to not only take them on, but to fight the good fight to it’s logical conclusion. If only because….

    We Remember

  13. 13
    LC Xystus growls and barks:

    FrJim, Imperial Chaplain

    They are the giants…we are the Wannabes.

    So long as we’re untested, this judgment may stand–& I hope we never need to measure up that way.