Reflections on December 7, 1941

By Alden L. Benton

Speed is the essence of war.  Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.”  ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 On a sunny Sunday morning 70 years ago, the course of history changed forever.  Following Sun Tzu’s ancient advice, forces of the Empire of Japan attacked United States forces in Hawaii.  Soon afterwards, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy’s battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire’s southward expansion.  America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

The Japanese sank of eight battleships, three destroyers.  Seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged.  More than 200 aircraft were destroyed.

That morning at Pearl Harbor, 2,390 Americans died and 1,200 were wounded.  

When the USS Arizona exploded and sank, 1,177 men died onboard.  The fires burned for days.  Only 229 bodies were recovered, the rest remain entombed in the sunken remains.  A quart of the remaining 500,000 gallons of oil seeps from the ship every day; black tears memorializing those who perished there for the next five millennia.

Today we must remember those who died at Pearl Harbor.  We must also remember why it happened.

No nation has ever attacked from a position of weakness.  The strong attack the weak and the unprepared.  The United States was unprepared in 1941, just as we were unprepared in 2001.

Preparedness is not confined to the military; it is political, moral, and spiritual as well. 

We were weak in 1941, but the nation got up, dusted herself off, and went to war with a single purpose — victory.  Political, moral, and spiritual strength coalesced into a power never before seen.

The same forces came together in the aftermath of 9-11, but came apart when the nation lost its resolve and settled for less than victory.

Under our current political leadership, we are becoming even weaker than we were before the attack on Pearl Harbor.  We live in a hostile world filled with enemies, seen, and unseen, who seek, with great commitment and zeal, our destruction. 

We cannot depend on government to protect us.  The only protection is in strength, strength from our moral and spiritual fortitude and commitment to what is right and good.  It is these principles that give strength to our political will and military might.  Without them, we are unprepared, weak, and vulnerable.

Remember those who died this day in 1941 and learn from their sacrifice.

 “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”~Patrick Henry

Blog content ©2011 Alden L Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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One response to “Reflections on December 7, 1941

  1. I was talking with someone who has visited the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. He said that when you’re there, you see how close you are to the wreckage, and a feeling comes over you that you could almost touch the Americans who died and remain there.
    Seems to me, there are three powerful messages to be taken: (1) never forget, (2) see evil for what it is, (3) always be prepared and vigilant.

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