Pearl Harbor: The Turning Point Of History

998 words - 4 pages

“Tora! Tora! Tora!,” sounds Japanese pilot Mitsuo Fuchida to the 182 other planes in the massive formation at approximately 7:53 a.m., December 7th, 1941. Suddenly chaos reigns over the Hawian Islands, in and around the naval base known as Pearl Harbor; the outcome: 2402 Americans killed, over 1100 injured, as well as 21 ships of the United States Pacific Fleet being destroyed or damaged. The toll to the Japanese opposition, 29 planes. This single battle would become the one of the most brilliant tactical strokes in military history, crippling America’s warfighting ability for several months on end. Despite this, America rose once again from the ashes with a new image, a new goal, as a new nation. This is why the events of that fateful day must never be forgotten- from the fires of that battle and the cries of Americans something spectacular occurred, true unity was found in the face of external aggression, a unity which ultimately chartered a new destiny for America.
In the wake of that most devastating surprise attack, America experienced something that had been seldom experienced, a sense of national unity and identity. When Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared to America and forever imbedded “December 7th, 1941- a date which will live in infamy,” into the minds of millions of Americans, the tears wept were not of any one race, creed, or religion; instead they were tears of a single nation, wept over the bodies of thousands of young American sailors, airmen, and soldiers. Eye’s still clouded by tears of sorrow, many Americans even went so far as to condone the imprisonment of neighbors with Japanese ancestry; this group, however, would not be content to sit idly by and silently consent to this misguided treatment. Rather, many of these citizens would prove their own sense of national identity by bearing prejudice and hatred and fighting with their fellow countrymen in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. This was indicative of a powerful trend, Americans coming along with one another and fighting for a common goal- to secure the world for future generations. The actions of the American Congress also reflected this new sentiment; during the declaration of war, of the 535 members of Congress who voted, a single woman- Jeannette Rankin- voted against, simply remarking, "as a woman, I can't go to war and I refuse to send anyone else. It is not necessary. I vote NO." Even the sole dissenting vote of the Congress was based upon the fact that she is unable to fight for her country, perhaps displaying an even stronger sense of national pride.
This new national unity in the days, months, and years following Pearl Harbor truly remains something to be remembered, as the vast majority of American history is marred by the outcome of clashing factions of the American people. The Revolution War, the very conflict that defined the formation of the nation, was marked by neighbor fighting neighbor in the factions of British Loyalists and American Patriots. Nearly a century...

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