Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which officially catapulted the United States into the Second World War.
This illustration from 1943 depicts Doris “Dorie” Miller (1919-1943), an African-American sailor from Waco, Texas during that fateful morning in 1941 as he defends the fleet at Pearl Harbor from the USS West Virginia. Despite not being trained on the .50 caliber Browning, Miller impressively managed to shoot down an estimated 3 to 4 Japanese planes until he ran out of ammunition. At that point, Miller began to help moving injured sailors out of harm’s way before abandoning the ship.
For his efforts on that day, Miller was awarded the US Navy Cross and was lauded as one of the first American heroes in Second World War (as the pin shows).
Miller would unfortunately be killed in action onboard the USS
Liscome Bay during the battle of Makin Island 1943.
“We are a nation that stands for the rule of law, and strengthens the laws of war. When the Nazis were defeated, we put them on trial. Some couldn’t understand that; it had never happened before. But as one of the American lawyers who was at Nuremberg says, ‘I was trying to prove that the rule of law should govern human behavior.’ And by doing so, we broadened the scope and reach of justice around the world. We held ourselves out as a beacon and an example for others.
We are a nation that won World Wars without grabbing the resources of those we defeated. We helped them rebuild. We didn’t hold on to territory, other than the cemeteries where we buried our dead. Our Greatest Generation fought and bled and died to build an international order of laws and institutions that could preserve the peace, and extend prosperity, and promote cooperation among nations. And for all of its imperfections, we depend on that international order to protect our own freedom.
In other words, we are a nation that at our best has been defined by hope, and not fear. A country that went through the crucible of a Civil War to offer a new birth of freedom; that stormed the beaches of Normandy, climbed the hills of Iwo Jima; that saw ordinary people mobilize to extend the meaning of civil rights. That’s who we are. That’s what makes us stronger than any act of terror.
Remember that history. Remember what that flag stands for. For we depend upon you—the heirs to that legacy—our men and women in uniform, and the citizens who support you, to carry forward what is best in us—that commitment to a common creed. The confidence that right makes might, not the other way around.” —President Obama to America’s service members on how he worked to fulfill his number one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief: keeping the American people safe.
(Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day, observed at the end of May each year, honors those who died while in military service.)
The iconic quotation by G. K. Chesterton encapsulates the attitude of those who have served, and serve today:
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.
An enduring tradition: Joseph Ambrose, then, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.
Green berets with the 7th Special Forces Group, alongside Airmen with the
24th Special Operations Wing, conducting urban warfare, personnel recovery and close air support training during Emerald Warrior 17 at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 7, 2017.